Authors:Sarah Davies (University of Vienna)
Maja Horst (DTU Technical University of Denmark)
Paper short abstract:
We outline a framework for studying science communication, suggesting that Stuart Hall’s parsing of a ’circuit of culture’ involving representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation may help develop tools for analysing science communication as a rich and complex ecosystem.
Paper long abstract:
This paper reflects on the ways in which science communication has been, and could be, modelled and studied. There is a need, we suggest, to go beyond ideas about 'deficit and dialogue' in thinking about what public science communication is and does. Amongst other lacunae, analysing science communication in these terms can lead to inattention to material and affective aspects of communication practices, an emphasis on formats rather than contexts and institutional embedding, and a focus on effects on publics rather than on science and scientists. We identify a number of aspects of science communication that have been under-studied, including its material, visual and affective dimensions; its functions in producing organisational and scientific identities; its increasing professionalisation; its role in shaping futures; and its interaction with questions of citizenship and democracy. There is thus a need for more holistic approaches to studying science communication. In closing we outline one framework for such an approach, suggesting that Stuart Hall's parsing of a 'circuit of culture' involving representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation may help develop tools for analysing science communication as a rich and complex ecosystem of practices, actors and materialities.