‘A Quarter Century of PUS: Retrospect and Prospect.’
The 2011 Science and the Public Conference will be held at Kingston University in South West London on 2-3 July.
2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Royal Society’s report into the public understanding of science. The Bodmer Report was critical in stimulating the wave of interest in the public’s relation to science that continues today in, amongst other things, the present conference, now in its sixth year. It famously presented a call for ‘improvement’ in the public understanding of science that birthed what we have come to know (if not always love!) as the ‘deficit model’. However much this model has been questioned – and jettisoned – over the past quarter-century, it did at least define an agenda of concerns and a clear direction for further work. In Gregory and Miller’s term, it set in train ‘the public understanding of science movement’, a movement that has since grown and spread in diverse and variegated ways, as well as stimulating a diversity of critical responses.
So, we think now is an opportune time to take stock of where we have come from and where we are headed, to reappraise the Bodmer Report’s historical and socio-cultural significance and to consider where we have got to since and where we might be going over the next quarter-century. Is there still (or was there ever?) a ‘public understanding of science movement’ and if so where is it and what form does it take? Is it now defined by ‘engagement’, by ‘dialogue’ or by some other mode of public interface? Is the deficit model dead and if so has it been properly buried or does it still haunt our corridors? What else is there? What shape does the PUS field now have? Is there a comparable agenda of concerns to that defined by Bodmer and if so what is it? And in what direction(s) should work now be going? What about the critical responses? Where have they taken us and where might they be taking us in future? Is there a consensus or do we remain a field in conflict with entrenched opponents, if no longer actively at ‘war’, then hunkered down in separate bunkers refusing – or simply neglecting – to speak to each other? Is there, indeed, a language we share to communicate with each other, let alone the public?
With all this in mind, we particularly invite papers and panels that address the following themes and issues, although we stress that we are open to additional suggestions and proposals:
· Reflections on the Bodmer Report and its historical, sociological and/or cultural significance
· The PUS movement and its off-spring
· How engaged is ‘engagement’ and how dialogical is ‘dialogue’?
· The prospects and circumspects of ‘citizen science’
· The new science communication - education, entertainment… or irritation?
· New forms and modes of popularisation
· Technoscience and its consumption
· Science, art and culture – changes, developments, continuities
· Theorising PUS
· Methods of research – new developments, new thoughts, new proposals
· New agendas for the science/public relationship and its academic study
Please include full contact details (name, affiliation and email of all authors).