Public engagement with science: what do we stand to lose?

Speaker: Dr Jane Gregory # Visiting Research Associate, Society and Information Research Group, The Open University

30th Apr 2012

15:30 - 17:00

Seminar Rm 1.06, Old Surgeons' Hall, HSY

Public engagement stands as an often uncontested good among social practices relating to science, and it has become a ubiquitous feature of science policy-making. This is despite a parallel discourse about its failings. STS participates along both lines, delivering and contributing to PE as well as criticising it, thus doubling our commitment to it. The PE juggernaut has, however, by bringing business to our small town, also squashed and scattered other aspects of STS that were once considered important in studies of science and the public. In this talk I will consider what our commitment to PE stands to cost us, and whether we can rescue any residual knowledges to enrich the dominant culture of STS. I will refer both to the intellectual and empirical roots of the engagement discourse in STS, and to some of STS's neglected knowledges, such as in science communication studies. I will also consider the consequences for society and for STS of the way in which 'public engagement with science' has become 'public engagement with science policy', and ask whether PE has let science itself, and scientists themselves, off the double hook of their own responsibilities, and of public and STS scrutiny.

For further information about accessibility please contact innogen@genomicsnetwork.ac.uk or call 0131 650 9113.