This module will provide you with an empirically based and conceptually engaged perspective on social and professional life and practice at the intersection of science, media and public policy. This perspective includes consideration of longstanding concerns about democratic versus technical decisionmaking, public engagement and the implications of scientific controversies in the mediated public sphere. Across many domains of social and professional life, the sciences seek to influence publics through entertainment, news and social media, education, dialogue and debate.
On this module, you’ll identify ways in which such attempts to influence or engage public perceptions of the sciences can be investigated through specific case studies. There have been particular flashpoints at the nexus of science, media and public policy in recent years. Controversies over human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, genetically modified crops, alternative medicine, the bioethics and public engagement role of zoos and science museums and festivals and the climate change agenda each hold important lessons for understanding the role of mass media, stakeholders and citizens in shaping public policy. These cases show how knowledge, power and legitimacy are marshalled in struggles for dominance and consensus over science in the public realm.
Timing and CATS
This module will run in the Autumn Term and is worth 20 CATS.