This panel focuses on science communication which does not claim to formally influence policy or scientific research, including science in museums, science fairs and festivals, popular science media, or science blogging. We invite critical STS analysis and discussion of these activities.
The last decades have, in a number of European countries, seen an increase in science communication and public engagement activities. In many places a well-defined 'deficit to dialogue' narrative tells of the move from 'public understanding of science' (PUS) models of communication (dominant in the 1980s and '90s) to more dialogic approaches, based on two-way communication between science and its publics. STS scholarship has been instrumental in these developments. Theoretical and analytical attention, as well as experiments with practice, have, however, tended to focus on policy-oriented or governmentally-sponsored engagement, and especially on overt efforts to 'democratise' science. This panel focuses on the often overlooked area of (what we might call) 'straight' science communication - that which does not claim to formally influence policy or scientific research, and which may at first glance feature one-way communication. This includes, for instance, science in museums, science fairs and festivals, popular science media, science blogging, sci-art activities, and university and lab open days. We invite critical STS analysis and discussion of these activities. This might include, for example, reflections on the role science communication may play in the democratisation of science, analyses of the constitution of publics and knowledges within particular science communication activities, or accounts of experimental practice. The panel will thus use the methodologies of critical STS to reflect upon the problems, potential and practice of contemporary science communication. The papers will be presented in the order shown and grouped 3-3-2-3 between sessions