[PCST] London PUS Seminar 22 March 17

Melanie Smallman melaniesmallman at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Mar 10 11:09:47 CET 2017


DearColleagues,


 
Weare pleased to inform you that the next London PUS seminar will be taking place on Wednesday 22 March 2017 from 16.15-18.00 in Room QUE328 at LSE (map here http://www.lse.ac.uk/mapsAndDirections/home.aspx). In a changeto the previously advertised programme, we will be hosting a special round tablediscussion on the topic of Trust in thegovernance of science: a growing tolerance of technocracy in Britain?.  The discussion will be stimulated with presentations from Professor MartinBauer and Dr Jane Gregory and comments from Melanie Smallman and Simon Lock – aswell as the usual high quality discussion around the table.  This seems to be a timely discussion, givenrecent concerns about public trust in experts in the wider political context,so we hope you will join us.  More detailsare given in the abstract below.


 
Our April seminar will be taking place on 26 April, when FedericoBrandmayr from the Université Paris–Sorbonne will talk about Competingconceptions of science in the L'Aquila “Major risks” trial.


 
As usual,all are welcome and there is no need to book a place.  We hope to see you on 22 March!


 
Best wishes

Jane Gregory, MartinBauer, Simon Lock, Melanie Smallman


 




 
PUS seminar 22 March 2017,16.15-18.00; A special table ronde discussion by the PUS team

 

Martin W Bauer and Jane Gregory, with comments from Melanie Smallman andSimon Lock

 

Trust in the governance ofscience: a growing tolerance of technocracy in Britain?

 

The British Attitudes to Science (BAS) survey regularly asks 2000+citizens about their relationship to science and technology. In response to thetechnocratic assertion ‘we have no option but to trust those who governscience’, agreement has increased from 49% in 2005 to 67% in 2014. Over thesame period, agreement with the statement ‘scientists should listen more whatordinary people think’ declined from 74% to 67%; and agreement with ‘thegovernment should act in accordance with public concerns about science andtechnology’ dropped from 81% to 75%. These changes are statistically andpotentially otherwise significant: they suggest the emergence of a ‘toleranceof technocracy’ in Britain. We juxtapose this data with the recent history ofscience communication, which has seen a growing influence from commercialpractice and increasing emphasis on managerial modes of communication such aspublic relations and public engagement. Positive public attitudes totechnocracy suggest that science communicators have done well in supporting theaims of the innovation economy. At the same time, science journalists not onlysense mistrust in science communication, but they also have experienced asevere decline in spaces for ‘watchdog’ activity. In this regard, sciencecommunicators have lost reputation and independence. These observations raisequestions about the relationship between trust in science and trust in sciencecommunication, and about what science communicators could usefully do in anapparently happy technocracy.

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