After this course:
- You can position current science-society relations in a historical context.
- You can analyse a socio-scientific controversy, their main actors, expertise and interests.
- You are able to distinguish and explain different types of expertise, and use this typology to analyze the roles that scientists play in present-day public issues.
- You can describe four different roles of scientists in (public) policy making and link them to different models of the science-policy interface.
- You are able to formulate a well-substantiated opinion about scientific expertise and the relation between science and society in an essayistic style
- You can describe core elements (norms / values / roles) that together make up the professional identity of a starting professional in the field of science and society
- You can explain how science is portrayed differently in various media and why this occurs.
- You can describe what frames are and can identify them in language and representations of socio-scientific issues.
- You are able to explain the central concepts and models from the field of STS, their applicability to ‘public science’ and the implications for science communication
Many of the big developments in our current society are related to science and technology. We look at scientists to identify problems and propose solutions. New technologies have great impact on our daily lives, and often raise even bigger expectations about their future impact. At the same time, the position of (academic) science seems to be under pressure. The authority of scientists as public ‘experts’ is not self-evident anymore. Scientific knowledge has become a topic of public debates.
In this course we reflect on these changes and discuss the possible implications of these shifts for master students in their future professional life. We will use models and approaches of Science and Technology Studies (STS, a.k.a. Social Studies of Science) as the foundation for these discussions. At the end of this course you will be able to formulate an informed answer to questions like: why and how do controversies around science and technology evolve? How can we define expertise and what different types of expertise can be distinguished? What is the role of experts in public debates? How are scientific concepts and theories used in public arguments by different stakeholders? What does this mean for the role of scientists and universities? How do I envision my role as a communicative professional?