Science and the Media: Alternative Routes to Scientific Communications (Paperback) book cover

Science and the Media

Alternative Routes to Scientific Communications

By Massimiano Bucchi

© 1999 – Routledge

208 pages

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About the Book

In the days of global warming and BSE, science is increasingly a public issue. This book provides a theoretical framework which allows us to understand why and how scientists address the general public. The author develops the argument that turning to the public is not simply a response to inaccurate reporting by journalists or to public curiosity, nor a wish to gain recognition and additional funding. Rather, it is a tactic to which the scientific community are pushed by certain "internal" crisis situations. Bucchi examines three cases of scientists turning to the public: the cold fusion case, the COBE/Big Bang issue and Louis Pasteur's public demonstration of the anthrax vaccine, a historical case of "public science." Finally, Bucchi presents his unique model of communications between science and the public, carried out through the media. This is a thoughtful and wide-ranging treatment of complex contemporary issues, touching upon the history and sociology of science, communication and media studies. Bucchi's theories on scientific communication in the media are a valuable contribution to the current debate on this subject.


'…an interesting contribution to the continuing attempts to offer a model of science-media relations…' - Public Understanding of Science

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1.1 The canonical account 1.2 The social representation of scientific theories 1.3 A communication continuum 1.4 Cognitive trajectories and their obstacles 1.5 The popular stage and its implications 2. When Scientists turn to the public 2.1 When scientists turn to the public 2.2 Metaphors, paradoxes and boundary objects in public communication of science 2.3 Metaphors in science 2.4 Constitutive and popular metaphors 2.5 Metaphors and paradoxes 2.6 Paradox in science 2.7 Boundary objects 3. Case studies 3.0 Preliminary remarks 3.1 Making and unmaking science in public: The Cold Fusion case 3.1.1 Not just 'hyped' science 3.1.2 Signs of (con) fusion 3.1.3 Cold fusion and public communication 3.1.4 Cold fusion and the Italian daily press 3.1.5 In and out of the public level 3.1.6 The ways of deconstruction Appendix A Appendix B Illustrations 3.2 A public explosion: Big Bang Theory in the UK daily press 3.2.1 A public explosion 3.2.2 A brief history of the universe 3.2.3 COBE takes off 3.2.4 More than a Big Bang 3.2.5 Big Bang and the public 3.2.6 Crisis, what crisis? 3.2.7 Big Bang as a boundary object 3.3 The public science of Louis Pasteur: The public experiment on anthrax in the popular press of the time 3.3.1 Prologue: A short story of the Pouilly-le-Fort trial 3.3.2 A celebrated experiment 3.3.3 The law of similars 3.3.4 On animals, for animals 3.3.5 The medical congress 3.3.6 Homeopathy and vivesection 3.3.7 The vaccination debate 3.3.8 The uses of a public experiment 4. Lines and tensions 4.1 Deviation as an exposure of the backstage 4.2 Public communication and boundary configurations 4.3 Mapping deviation 4.4 The second axis References

About the Author

Massimiano Bucchi is Professor of Science and Technology in Society at the University of Trento, Italy.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society

Books in this series consider social science aspects of science studies. Authors discuss how science is socially situated and mediated, how science and technology are shaped by society and society by science and technology. Books will consider the social impact of new technologies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General