CNS Seminar (In-house)

Thursday, October 3, 2013
2:00 - 4:00pm
Girvetz 2320
Sarah Davies

Sarah R Davies is based in the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen where her work focuses on public engagement with science. Her publications include the edited volumes Science and Its Publics (2008) and Understanding Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (2010), and articles in journals such as Science Communication, Science as Culture, and Public Understanding of Science.

Sarah Davies will give a talk titled: "Studying and Practicing Public Engagement: Deficit, Deliberation and Delight"

The last decades have seen increased attention to science communication and public engagement around the world. In the UK, for instance, a well-defined ‘deficit to dialogue’ narrative tells of the move from ‘public understanding of science’ (PUS) models of communication to more dialogic approaches based on two-way communication between science and its publics, exemplified in recent activities around nanotechnology. This tension – between ‘traditional’ PUS and ‘new’ forms of dialogue and deliberation – is central to the ways in which public engagement is commonly discussed, practiced and studied. It is, however, limiting in a number of respects: framing engagement in these terms ignores differences between ‘invited’ and ‘spontaneous’ forms of engagement; assumes that the central aim of engagement is to inform science policy and scientific decision making; and relies on an essentially disembodied model of communication. I reflect on these challenges to suggest some alternative ways that public engagement with science, and in particular with new and emerging technologies, can be imagined.