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Paradigm change for science communication: commercial science needs a critical public

Bauer, Martin W. (2008) Paradigm change for science communication: commercial science needs a critical public. In: Cheng, Donghong, Claessens, Michel, Gascoigne, Toss, Metcalfe, Jenni, Schiele, Bernard and Shi, Shunke, (eds.) Communicating Science in Social Contexts. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, Netherlands, pp. 7-25. ISBN 9781402085970

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8598-7_1


With private patronage, the pressure grows to commercialize scientific research and its results. The business model extends into the laboratory, and applies also to communication. The author explores potential risks for science communication in this changing context. In product marketing and public relations, hyperbole and sensationalism are normal modes of operation. ‘Innocent fraud’ (Galbraith) and more ‘bullshit’ (Frankfurt) are likely risks with this communication practice, and those risks call for increased vigilance by knowledge consumers. The author points to some indicators of the growth of critical publics for science: the long-term waves of mass media coverage, the cycles of hype and disappointed expectations, increased scientific literacy, and the displacement of scientific ideology by sceptical and utilitarian attitudes in high-tech knowledge societies. In this context, the paradigm of science communication is no longer to deliver public acceptance, but to enhance public scrutiny of private scientific developments.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Springer
Divisions: Methodology
Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2013 11:58
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2024 17:30

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