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The medicalisation of science news: from the 'rocket-scalpel' to the 'gene-meteorite' complex

Bauer, Martin W. (1998) The medicalisation of science news: from the 'rocket-scalpel' to the 'gene-meteorite' complex. Social Science Information, 37 (4). pp. 731-751. ISSN 0539-0184

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Identification Number: 10.1177/053901898037004009


This paper explores the medicalization-of-science-news thesis. Considering the results from surveys and media analyses, biomedical news appears to be the current core of the public representation of science. Why is this the case? A historical approach may bring us one step closer to an answer. A longitudinal analysis of science in the press demonstrates a shift in the core representation of science in the 1930s, and again in the 1980s/1990s, a trend change in the late 1960s, and the assimilation of science reportage to the rhetoric of biomedical news. The physical sciences provided the main source of social imagination during an unlikely intermezzo between the early 1930s and the early 1980s. Two speculations on this long-term shift are developed: (a) the medicalization of modern society may explain the recent shift, and (b) the resistance function of social representations of science may explain the long-term change.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1998 Maison des Sciences de l'Homme
Divisions: Methodology
Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2009 17:55
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 02:53

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