Recent years have seen the proliferation of new types of forums and communication processes  designed  by  political  institutions  to  offer  innovative  ways  of  negociating facts  and  values  regarding  scientific  and  technological  choices.  Consensus conferences in Denmark, publiforum in Switzerland or citizens conferences in France for example have been set up to help political institutions to take decisions based on the widest possible informed public consent. In another context, the frontier between users and producers of knowledge has been blurred in some cases as in the research on  genetic  diseases,  with  the  implication  of  patient  associations.  We  consider  these innovations  as  experiments  allowing  us  to  assess  different  models  of  scientific communication  which  surpass  the  limitations  attached  to  the  simple  popularization process,  almost  unidirectional  (Hilgartner,  1990;  Lewenstein,  1995),  i.e.  the  “public instruction model” (Callon, 1999).

Negociation  of  facts  and  values  in  these  new  communication  arenas  participates  in the establishment of what has been qualified in different contexts and different ways as : the coming of a “politique de la nature” (Latour, 1999), constructive technology assessment  (Rip,  Misa  &  Schot,  1995),  the  opportunity  to  produce  “socially  robust knowledge”  (Nowotny,  1999),  or  a  movement  towards  a  “co-production  of knowledge”  (Callon,  1999).  What  is  at  stake  here  is  the  relative  weight  given  to experts  and  citizens  -most  often  organized  in  collectives-  in  controversies  engaging scientific  and  technological  issues,  especially  when  risk  assessment  is  at  stake  : GMOs, health policies, management of nuclear wastes, etc.

In this paper, we explore some consequences which can be drawn from those major transformations and some of their implications for our conceptions of communication of  scientific  facts  in  society  as  well  as  concerning  the  democratic  management  of scientific and technological policies.
 

 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Negociating facts and values in the public sphere
New trends in the democratisation of science and technology policies

Alain Kaufmann   Faculty of sciences and faculty of medicine - University of Lausanne

Claude Joseph   Faculty of sciences and faculty of medicine - University of Lausanne

Recent years have seen the proliferation of new types of forums and communication processes  designed  by  political  institutions  to  offer  innovative  ways  of  negociating facts  and  values  regarding  scientific  and  technological  choices.  Consensus conferences in Denmark, publiforum in Switzerland or citizens conferences in France for example have been set up to help political institutions to take decisions based on the widest possible informed public consent. In another context, the frontier between users and producers of knowledge has been blurred in some cases as in the research on  genetic  diseases,  with  the  implication  of  patient  associations.  We  consider  these innovations  as  experiments  allowing  us  to  assess  different  models  of  scientific communication  which  surpass  the  limitations  attached  to  the  simple  popularization process,  almost  unidirectional  (Hilgartner,  1990;  Lewenstein,  1995),  i.e.  the  “public instruction model” (Callon, 1999).

Negociation  of  facts  and  values  in  these  new  communication  arenas  participates  in the establishment of what has been qualified in different contexts and different ways as : the coming of a “politique de la nature” (Latour, 1999), constructive technology assessment  (Rip,  Misa  &  Schot,  1995),  the  opportunity  to  produce  “socially  robust knowledge”  (Nowotny,  1999),  or  a  movement  towards  a  “co-production  of knowledge”  (Callon,  1999).  What  is  at  stake  here  is  the  relative  weight  given  to experts  and  citizens  -most  often  organized  in  collectives-  in  controversies  engaging scientific  and  technological  issues,  especially  when  risk  assessment  is  at  stake  : GMOs, health policies, management of nuclear wastes, etc.

In this paper, we explore some consequences which can be drawn from those major transformations and some of their implications for our conceptions of communication of  scientific  facts  in  society  as  well  as  concerning  the  democratic  management  of scientific and technological policies.
 

 

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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