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300052 Science and Society. is There a Crisis of Authority in Contemporary Science? (S) (WiSe 2019/2020)

Inhalt, Kommentar

In recent years, the increasing use of digital media (or new media) has raised many concerns about the reliability of science. In 2013, for example, the World Economic Forum included the massive disinformation produced by the mass media (‘fake news’) in main global risks of hyperconnected society, while in 2016, the Oxford Dictionary chose ‘post-truth’ as word of the year. It seems that people have lost their faith in science. In this workshop, we ask if there truly is a crisis of scientific authority, and – if yes – what are its causes and possible consequences.
To answer these questions, we will move from a definition of the concept of ‘authority’ as willingness to accept the selections of others (scientists, but also physicians and political leaders) without questioning the criteria used to produce those selections. This authority goes into ‘crisis’ when the improbability of acceptance increases and the recipient focuses on the excluded possibilities (Corsi 2019).
On the basis of these assumptions, we will explore the hypothesis that what is in crisis is not the effectiveness of scientific research but rather the social authority of science. We will therefore develop our research not within the social system of science, but in the public sphere of the scientific system. We wonder what kind of role new media play in the implementation of this public sphere. In addition, we will study phenomena which are now very common and often have paradoxical effects, such as confirmation bias, echo chamber and debunking. Finally, we ask how science can be communicated outside the scientific system avoiding what Bronner and Cordonier (2019) have called the ‘cognitive oligopoly’ of the credulous.

• Participants are invited to prepare a presentation and to contact the teacher in advance for the overall planning of the meetings. This workshop takes place over three days. Bibliography and detailed program of the workshop will be announced at the end of August 2019.

Literaturangaben

Bronner, Gérald/Cordonier, Laurent (2019): Credulity and the Cognitive Market: Scientific Distrust and Conspiracy Theories. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, 21(3), pp. 9–24.

Collins, Harry (1987): Certainty and the Public Understanding of Science: Science on Television. Social Studies of Science, 17(4), pp. 689–713.

Corsi, Giancarlo (2019): Can the Public Sphere be Transparent? On the Reality of (Dis)Information. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, 21(3), pp. 25–46.

Friedman, Sharon et al. (1999): Communicating Uncertainty. Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum.

Krieghbaum, Hillier (1967): Science and the Mass Media. New York/London: New York University Press.

Jasanoff, Sheila/Simmet, Hilton (2017): No Funeral Bells: Public Reason in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age. Social Studies of Science, 47(5), pp. 751–770.

Luhmann, Niklas (1990): Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft. In: Ders., Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, Ch. 9, pp. 616–701.

Nelkin, Dorothy (1987): Selling Science. How the Press Covers Science and Technology. New York: Freeman & Co.

Lehrende

Termine (Kalendersicht )

Rhythmus Tag Uhrzeit Ort Zeitraum  
einmalig Fr 15-18   06.12.2019 Vorbesprechung
Block Mo 09-18   16.12.2019
Block Di 09-18   17.12.2019
Block Mi 09-18   18.12.2019

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