The paper argues that both the traditional, normative models and the more refined ("continuity") models of public communication of science fail to adequately account for cases of "deviation", i.e. those cases when scientists directly address the public by skipping the usual stages of scientific communication. 

It is hypothesised that most of such cases are related to crisis situations and to the definition of scientific boundaries. Therefore, at least two modalities of public communication of science should be distinguished, one being the routine, generally unproblematic itinerary of a scientific idea through the different levels of communication as presented by the continuity models; the other being the dramatic (re)assessment of boundaries and professional competences in the public arena that is required by marginal situations.

Continuity models need to be supplemented by a multilevel, multivariate model which enable us to explain this later modality and to understand in more detail that role that the level of communication plays when such modality is activated.  
 


 


 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Why should scientists turn to the public

Massimiano Bucchi   Universitˆ di Trento - ITALY

The paper argues that both the traditional, normative models and the more refined ("continuity") models of public communication of science fail to adequately account for cases of "deviation", i.e. those cases when scientists directly address the public by skipping the usual stages of scientific communication. 

It is hypothesised that most of such cases are related to crisis situations and to the definition of scientific boundaries. Therefore, at least two modalities of public communication of science should be distinguished, one being the routine, generally unproblematic itinerary of a scientific idea through the different levels of communication as presented by the continuity models; the other being the dramatic (re)assessment of boundaries and professional competences in the public arena that is required by marginal situations.

Continuity models need to be supplemented by a multilevel, multivariate model which enable us to explain this later modality and to understand in more detail that role that the level of communication plays when such modality is activated.  
 


 


 

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

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