[PCST] Reminder: London PUS Seminar TODAY

Melanie Smallman melaniesmallman at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Mar 22 08:55:04 CET 2017

Dear Colleagues,
Just toremind you that the next London PUS seminar will be taking place today (Wednesday 22 March 2017) from16.15-18.00 in Room QUE328 at LSE (map here http://www.lse.ac.uk/mapsAndDirections/home.aspx), when we will be hosting a special round table discussion on the topicof Trust in the governance of science: agrowing tolerance of technocracy in Britain?. The discussion will be stimulated with presentations from Professor Martin Bauer and Dr Jane Gregoryand comments from Melanie Smallman and Simon Lock – as well as the usual highquality discussion around the table. This seems to be a timely discussion, given recent concerns about publictrust in experts in the wider political context, so we hope you will join us.  More details are 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 later!

Best wishes

Jane Gregory, MartinBauer, Simon Lock, Melanie Smallman


PUSseminar 22 March 2017, 16.15-18.00; A special table ronde discussion by the PUSteam


Martin W Bauer and Jane Gregory, with comments fromMelanie Smallman and Simon Lock


Trustin the governance of science: a growing tolerance of technocracy in Britain?


The British Attitudes to Science (BAS) surveyregularly asks 2000+ citizens about their relationship to science andtechnology. In response to the technocratic assertion ‘we have no option but totrust those who govern science’, agreement has increased from 49% in 2005 to67% in 2014. Over the same period, agreement with the statement ‘scientistsshould listen more what ordinary people think’ declined from 74% to 67%; andagreement with ‘the government should act in accordance with public concernsabout science and technology’ dropped from 81% to 75%. These changes arestatistically and potentially otherwise significant: they suggest the emergenceof a ‘tolerance of technocracy’ in Britain. We juxtapose this data with therecent history of science communication, which has seen a growing influencefrom commercial practice and increasing emphasis on managerial modes ofcommunication such as public relations and public engagement. Positive publicattitudes to technocracy suggest that science communicators have done well insupporting the aims of the innovation economy. At the same time, sciencejournalists not only sense mistrust in science communication, but they alsohave experienced a severe decline in spaces for ‘watchdog’ activity. In thisregard, science communicators have lost reputation and independence. Theseobservations raise questions about the relationship between trust in scienceand trust in science communication, and about what science communicators couldusefully do in an apparently happy technocracy.

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