From the point of view of the social studies of science (especially history and sociology), scientific knowledge can be described as a process of construction, which involves heterogeneous actors in a collective dynamics of negotiation, translation (Callon, 1986) and controversies. This is also true and even more obvious in the case of scientific exhibitions. For instance, Star and Griesemer (1989) showed that the construction of a scientific museum can be understood as the production of a boundary object allowing the management of diversity and cooperation between actors from different social worlds (Strauss, 1978) : scientists, laboratories, amateurs, professionals, institutions, administrators, etc.

This paper follows this kind of approach   using a recent experiment undertaken by the authors : « Sciences-été : visible et invisible », an exhibition organized by the Fondation Claude Verdan (Musée de la Main) and the Faculties of sciences and medicine of the University of Lausanne. This exhibition and its parallel events were an attempt to exhibit the « scientific method », laboratory life (Latour, 1986) and some links between science and society. Using this concrete experiment and existing literature, our communication will be articulated around four dimensions  :

• a short history of the relations between science and it's publics - in particular between academic research and museums - will show the variations of the « museographic regimes of modernity » from the 17th century until now;

• an evaluation of different models of communication between science(s) and public(s) implemented in scientific exhibitions (Davallon, 1999; Schiele, 1996);
 
• an evaluation of some limitations of common museographic devices to display « scientific facts » as opposed to « research in the making »;
 
• some reflections to move from the question of « popularization » towards a broader conception of the mediation between science and society (Bensaude-Vincent, 2000).

More generally, this paper suggests that recent contributions in the social studies of science, in communication and museographic studies allow us to reconsider the link between science and its socio-cultural meanings and indicates some concrete strategies for the production of exhibitions.


 



 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

How should exhibitions link science and society ?

Alain Kaufmann   IMédia - Science, Medicine and Society Interface Faculty of sciences and faculty of medicine - University of Lausanne

Claude Joseph   IMédia - Science, Medicine and Society Interface Faculty of sciences and faculty of medicine - University of Lausanne

Francesco Panese   Fondation Claude Verdan & Institut de sociologie des communications de masse - University of Lausanne

From the point of view of the social studies of science (especially history and sociology), scientific knowledge can be described as a process of construction, which involves heterogeneous actors in a collective dynamics of negotiation, translation (Callon, 1986) and controversies. This is also true and even more obvious in the case of scientific exhibitions. For instance, Star and Griesemer (1989) showed that the construction of a scientific museum can be understood as the production of a boundary object allowing the management of diversity and cooperation between actors from different social worlds (Strauss, 1978) : scientists, laboratories, amateurs, professionals, institutions, administrators, etc.

This paper follows this kind of approach   using a recent experiment undertaken by the authors : « Sciences-été : visible et invisible », an exhibition organized by the Fondation Claude Verdan (Musée de la Main) and the Faculties of sciences and medicine of the University of Lausanne. This exhibition and its parallel events were an attempt to exhibit the « scientific method », laboratory life (Latour, 1986) and some links between science and society. Using this concrete experiment and existing literature, our communication will be articulated around four dimensions  :

• a short history of the relations between science and it's publics - in particular between academic research and museums - will show the variations of the « museographic regimes of modernity » from the 17th century until now;

• an evaluation of different models of communication between science(s) and public(s) implemented in scientific exhibitions (Davallon, 1999; Schiele, 1996);
 
• an evaluation of some limitations of common museographic devices to display « scientific facts » as opposed to « research in the making »;
 
• some reflections to move from the question of « popularization » towards a broader conception of the mediation between science and society (Bensaude-Vincent, 2000).

More generally, this paper suggests that recent contributions in the social studies of science, in communication and museographic studies allow us to reconsider the link between science and its socio-cultural meanings and indicates some concrete strategies for the production of exhibitions.


 



 

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