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Session Overview
RN24_06a_H: Science and the Public
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Fabienne Crettaz von Roten, University of Lausanne
Location: HA.1.1
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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Public opinion on the role of science in Ukraine

Tetyana Petrushyna

Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine, Ukraine

EU countries constantly monitor public opinion on various issues of science within a special Eurobarometer project to ensure effective dialogue between science and society. Considering that Ukraine has never taken part in such survey, the Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine has started to monitor public opinion about national science since 2014.

Collective consciousness reflects objective deterioration in the sphere of science. Negative assessments of state of science in Ukraine dominate in public perception, especially compared with the world level of science. The role of science in modernization of Ukrainian society is perceived mainly as insignificant. However, the level of people’s trust in Ukrainian scientists remains the highest among the major social institutions.

While the contemporary state and business have no interest in developing of science in Ukraine, there is a public demand for the development of national science. According to the monitoring study conducted in 2016, 79% of Ukrainian respondents said that society cannot exist without science. The majority of population (74%) consider that the development of the Ukrainian state and economy is impossible without the development of national science. Moreover, every third respondent has a strong opinion that government primarily should take into account recommendations of Ukrainian scientists while working on the Development program for Ukraine.

We also studied general interest of the Ukrainian citizens to the world of science and their attitude to scientist career choice.

Communicating research. A study on the role of researchers in the public space of communication

Giuseppe Pellegrini1, Andrea Rubin2

1University of Padova, Italy; 2Catholic University of Milan, Italy

Research on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) has been focused on non-experts and mediators so far. The role of scientists as communicators has not been extensively explored yet although most of them are involved in communicative practices.

To address this issue we have developed a study aimed to evaluate the researcher communication strategies in a public event. The analysis was carried out as part of SHARPER (SHaring Researcher's Passions for Excellence and Results), an Italian project developed on the framework of the Marie Slodowska Curie Action European Researcher's Night.

During these events, from 2014 to 2016, information about researcher expectation, preparation and communication strategies were collected. Moreover were recorded information on the event organization, management and development. All the outcomes were collected using ethnographic observation, a type of qualitative research method that combines immersive observation and directed one-on-one interviews.

The results of the study showed several communication strategies that can be combined based on the researchers skill to adopt different communication styles and instruments. Main findings underline different approach regarding the contests, the formats and the contents of the speeches. These dimensions were used to design a typology that show when the researchers are or not in tune with the audience shading a light on common communication gap.

Overall the outcomes of this work bring knowledge in the Public Communication of Science and Technology field.

Affected for good or evil: Conceptions of “citizenship” and “publics” shaped by crime management technologies

Nina Amelung, Helena Machado

CES Coimbra, Portugal

More recently crime control regimes have become enforced with the technological systems for exchanging forensic DNA-data across national databases in the European Union. How do such transnational regimes of crime management technologies affect the “public” - understanding the “public” in line with Dewey as including those “indirectly and seriously affected for good or evil”? In this paper we address the question by exploring the conceptions of “publics” of different stakeholders working and professionally accompanying the development of these systems of identification of “suspect populations”. We begin our paper by discussing different notions of citizenship – biological, scientific and political citizenship – and their resonance in the literature of social studies of science and technology. Thereby we provide a search heuristic of diverse conceptions of the publics and factual and possible forms for public involvement. Based on interviews conducted at the UK and Poland we explore what “publics” are imagined in the context of an “old stager” and a “newcomer” in the domain of the uses of large computerized DNA-databases applied in criminal investigation. Finally, we discuss the identified shared underlying notions of citizenship and conceptions of the public rendered and naturalized by logics of the production of symbolic boundaries between the fields of science, criminal justice and the “general public”, and their implications for democracy. Beyond commonalities we also identify national differences and specific civic epistemological conditions for the enactment of forms of public involvement.

Supporting the Paris Climate Consensus: disciplinary cultures of young scientists and their role in social engagement with complex and wicked climate change

Marija Brajdic Vukovic

University of Zagreb, Croatia

Climate change is the defining ‘wicked’ challenge of our age, and the specific ‘climate science’ provides insufficient tools to meet this challenge once it has been acknowledged. In this paper we measure extent of agreement of young scientists with Paris Climate Consensus that climate change is primarily anthropogenic, globally challenging and generally universally detrimental, with respect to their disciplinary backgrounds as well as science communication attitudes and anthropocentric value base. Using multivariate analyses we find that engineering sciences (tech and bio tech) differ from the rest of the scientific disciplines and the general public of the same age, in support for the rationale behind climate change mitigation, anthropocentric values and public engagement with science. A specific disciplinary culture of disengagement may lead these otherwise instrumentally powerful biotech and technical sciences researchers to an underestimation of the global biophysical and social consequences of climate change, and insular application of their work to strengthen its contemporary drivers. We conclude by proposing integrating measures to break the cycle of disengagement, and join the technologies behind behaviour and experiences of citizens with understanding of different social contexts of climate policy.

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