Relationship btw science and society

From Science in Society to Society in Science - Etikkom

relationship btw science and society

The relationship between science and society is not addressed to any extent in the Nordic studies of power and democracy. "The retreat of. Rethinking the relationship between science and society: Has there been a shift in attitudes to Patient and Public Involvement and Public. Science and technology have had a major impact on society, and their impact is operating novel relationships between things or ideas. Indeed, at the turn of.

In one case, recruitment to the study had finished by the time the service user was in post. Recruitment was the aspect of the project where the researcher had planned for the service user to contribute and for which she had obtained ethics approval. The researcher needed to think again about how to include the service user, how the service user might like to be involved and whether this change would have implications for ethics.

I was doing a project where we were trying to get service users on board, and we had employed two, from the [local patient group], so we had gotten them on board, got honorary contracts for them through [the Trust], and then, of course, recruitment stopped. So I was kind of left at a loose end of what to do with them. Pragmatic accommodation of PPI: Raj, a senior lecturer described the funding imperative to demonstrate involvement.

One participant in this group went as far as to describe PPI as a scripted activity, in which patients and the public are encouraged to play a predetermined, bounded role in the research process: With public involvement, it always seems to me that you're promising people far more than you're ever going to deliver. That you're encouraging them to feel engaged because that's the role that you scripted for them and you want them to play that part.

But really once the study ends or that part of it ends you don't really want much more to do with them. Sam Participants expressed concern about the skills of patients and the public and their ability to engage meaningfully in research.

One participant highlighted the difficulty in involving the public in molecular biology at the bench end of the translational pipeline, compared to clinical trials where the relevance to patients is more obvious and there may be scope for more patient involvement. A health service researcher also referred to the translational pipeline, expressing the view that health service research located closer to the bedside provides more opportunities to take on board and value patient perspectives.

Furthermore, biomedical scientists stressed the technical nature of their particular areas of science and argued that specialist knowledge was required to play an active role in research. But how could somebody who's not a scientist have influence in the design of any sort of experiment? Because… you know what I mean?

It's hard enough for us to design an experiment so it actually works and it makes sense, it's hard work, and you need to understand what you're doing. And, I cannot imagine that the general public would have any sort of positive impact on that.

I guess, I'm also a bit scared of this idea of handing over some of the power and control to the public so they can influence how research is conducted, because, I feel like the decisions would be quite naive.

It may not necessarily be in the best interests of research progress or, you know, getting a new drug or something like that. Tanya I respect other people's opinions and they need to respect mine.

In terms of whether the experiments are the right ones to do, then I think that's something you have to do within your peer group. I think that's not really… you're not going to get a better experiment design by talking to someone who doesn't understand how to do an experiment. Peter The threat of losing control of the scientific process to patients and the public loomed large in the interviews with the laboratory based biomedical scientists.

So I think for me, it's absolutely fine for patients to have enormous power over the direction of research and what the questions are, but the technical sides of it are I don't think appropriate for patients. And then you get confused about the sorts of patients you're attracting, and what actually is a lay person if they're someone that's capable of carrying out a scientific study…So I think it's just a mixing up of roles that isn't terribly helpful to anyone.

F Relationships between science and society

Sam Attitudes to PES: They talked about their experiences of going into schools to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and attending science fairs to promote public understanding of and trust in science. They also discussed their experiences of science communication, and in particular the difficult relationship they perceived between science and the mass media.

Jude This conceptualization of PES was consistent across the different levels of experience within the genetics and mental health themes. Some participants felt scientists could do more in terms of public engagement activities and this might be a useful way of counteracting the negative portrayal of science in the mass media. PES was a familiar concept to the health service researchers in the innovations theme, but they had more limited experience of engaging with the public in this way.

She explained that she considered engagement as involving agency, action and will on the part of the participant. I don't think there is a lot of humility in the scientific community about their own need to be exposed, to…, because there is a certain elitism that floats around these circles in which people think they know the truth… So it's not that they're dying to get input from others and widen their perspectives.

Sue Sue and her colleague Jackie were also critical of PES as tokenistic and alluded to the deficit model of public understanding of science. Sue talked about her previous research experience outside UK health services research.

Relationship between Technology and Society

Before coming to work as a health services researcher, she had worked in an international development context as both a researcher and health promoter alongside activists seeking to change policy and practice in sexual and reproductive rights, including HIV. She felt that the methods used in her previous research mainly qualitative methods were particularly well suited to participation. Sue's perspective aligned with Wynne's description of a more democratic production of knowledge where the roles of researchers and the public are more fluid.

While only Sue associated herself with a more participatory research tradition, other health service researchers shared her view of the elitist research culture within health care. Jackie, another health services researcher agreed: I think there is very much a normative ideal that actually professionals are the only ones that really have the authority and knowledge to write research protocols and undertake it.

Jackie Jackie felt that it should be possible to give the patient voice the same status as the professional voice in the research process. On the other hand, the need to retain control over the research highlighted by Jackie would fit more closely with Mode 1 research where power, funding and agenda setting remains within the Academy. Discussion and conclusions The participants in this study made a clear distinction between PES an activity that aims to communicate research findings to the public, engage the public with broader issues of science policy or promote a greater understanding of the role of science in society and PPI which they described as engagement with patient and carers in the conduct of research projects and programmes.

PES was widely accepted but understood as the more traditional Public Understanding of Science; PPI was resisted by the biomedical scientists but accepted and sometimes embraced by health services researchers. However, even in the latter cases there was a resistance to the idea of power sharing. Mode 2 thinking in the production of scientific knowledge, fusing both PES and PPI, was exceptional and articulated by only one participant in this study; an individual with experience of activism and participatory approaches to research.

The study revealed considerable variability in activity and attitudes to PPI and PES amongst different types of researchers and between individuals. The health services researchers were more likely to be actively engaged in PPI activities, although the extent to which they thought this was valuable activity varied between individuals.

The biomedical scientists had less experience of PPI although funding concerns had raised their awareness of the concept. Some individuals had been inspired by positive experiences of engaging with the public which led to a shift in their attitudes and practice. With the exception of two health services researchers, participants described a traditional model of public understanding of science motivated by the need to educate the public about science and improve accountability.

Previous researchers have found it helpful to use the concepts of Mode 1 and Mode 2 research to understand academic attitudes and practice. Similarly, the original texts on Mode 1 and Mode 2 310 make little mention of the public, patients and service users. Our analysis suggests that the different types of engagement activity undertaken with the public and patients align with different Modes.

While participants were broadly accepting of the limited communication model associated with Public Understanding of Science an activity more associated with Mode 1they expressed greater resistance to types of engagement with the public and patients more associated with Mode 2. While PPI guidance is increasingly promoting Mode 2 knowledge production, the underlying attitudes of many researchers continue to reflect a Mode 1 set of values.

Our analysis suggests that it would be helpful to consider more active forms of engagement with the public and patients as part of the broader conceptualization of Mode 2 knowledge production.

The relationship between science and society is not addressed to any extent in the Nordic studies of power and democracy.

relationship btw science and society

Power and politics are associated with law, the media, economics and business. But not with science, technology and innovation. This does not necessarily mean that the research system in Norway makes only modest contributions to political and societal development compared with other countries. But the fact that studies of power and politics tend not to discuss this, may imply a lack of understanding of the interplay between science and society and the challenges this presents.

However, the climate crisis and the financial crisis are beginning to feature in the Norwegian public debate, and this may prepare the ground for a different, more complex understanding of the relationship between science and society. For example, in an article in the Norwegian daily Aftenposten on 23 Januaryon the relationship between climate and knowledge: The connection between climate and knowledge is deep and alarming.

The climate appears to be changing because knowledge and technology have undergone explosive development over the past two centuries. In the course of this period, science, technology and industry have ensured growth in prosperity and improved living conditions.

As long as money, oil and health continued to flow in without visible problems, there was no reason to make them the subject of extensive political debate, either. There was debate, but it was primarily in the form of questions about distribution Strand and Rommetveit We have recently heard the Minister for Education and Research describe the climate and financial crisis as two events exposing our established knowledge as not good enough.

It is important to stress that this neither mean that science and technology are regarded as the cause of climate, environmental, developmental and financial crises, nor that science and technology alone can "save the world".

The point is that science seldom stands out in the singular these days, it can neither be studied nor developed in isolation.


Science works together with or intertwined into other societal, cultural and historical factors. Frequently used terms are "co-evolution" and "co-production of science and society" Nowotny et al.

This interweaving makes governance structures based on conceptions of separation and a clear division of labour between science and socity, such as in the Nordic model, rather unproductive. We need a better grasp of the complexities and dynamics in the interaction between science and society. This is a precondition for the development of new governance styles, new institutions as well as solutions to the grand societal challenges of our times. It is the so-called technosciences; information and communication technology, biotechnology and gene technology, together with materials technology, that most clearly call into question and erode the boundaries between science and society.

These hyphenated technologies are characterised by a reverse logic, in that the knowledge has to be used in order to be tested Beck In other words, the time and space between the production of knowledge and its application vanish. The technosciences can have relatively direct reality-shaping effects.

Not only new understandings and maps are being produced, the terrain is changing: Reproduction technology, from in-vitro fertilisation to cloning, is a classic example, while synthetic biology is a more recent illustration.

The critique of positivism and its impotence It is not the first time that the duality of the scientific project has been pointed out. It received a great deal of attention in the s and '70s, with the "participant-observer" distinction of the s as a central enigma Skjervheim Science and technology not only serve to integrate societal development; they are also already integrated in societal development. In the wake of post-positivism we got studies in sociology of science, history of science, anthropology of knowledge and politics of research.

These relatively new "externalist" approaches have placed science in the wider societal contexts, but have been less successful in getting to grips with what is regarded as the internal aspects of science. Evelyn Fox Keller sums up the situation as follows: The breakdown of the old "societal contract", based on separation and division of labour between science and society, had resulted in loss of clarity.

relationship btw science and society

The committee argued for a new negotiation process and called attention to a number of the topics that have since characterised the international debate NOU Today it is maintained that the time for thinking in terms of contracts is past Guston Instead, it is argued that closer interplay and more interaction between science and society are necessary to foster "collaborative assurance".

The legitimacy of, confidence in and "societal capital" of science must be recreated and constantly earned through various kinds of collaboration. At the international level, discussions, experiments and development work regarding the relationship between science and society were intense in the s.

The temperature of the discussions indicates that fundamental investments — institutional as well as individual — are being shaken up. We are not merely going to have to learn something new that can be added to the knowledge basis forming the background against which we operate; this is about a paradigm shift with respect to basic understanding of the relationship between science and society. This shift is linked to a breakdown in so-called linear forms of understanding Gibbons et al. First comes basic science, then applied science, and finally the product or action out there in society.

This linear model or form of understanding postulates a separation between science and society making it possible to think in terms of division of labour between science and politics. The model also invites thinking about regulation and governance of the relationship between science and society in contractual terms, reference can still be made to various white papers on research.

She has also argued that greater transparency concerning research and technological processes is needed Nowotny It is no longer enough to promote channeling the results of science into society. Nowotny asserts that the research systems must open up. In particular, she stresses, it is essential to impart uncertainties, contradictions and contingencies; everything that cannot be guaranteed as "scientifically" verified and which therefore creates a problem for the perception of science as based on neutral and in part "objective" knowledge processes.

It is necessary to develop a new kind of more mature partnership, Nowotny maintains, and this can only happen if research and technological development processes are made more transparent: Society will have to become more involved in understanding better how research actually functions and why it is important" my italics. The same tendency is apparent in the UK, one of the foremost countries in Europe with regard to developing the societal dialogue.

In the wake of the scandals surrounding Mad Cow Disease in the s, great emphasis was placed on moving away from the so-called deficit model, in which a classic public enlightenment model prevailed.

The informative and explanatory monologue from science should be replaced by dialogue. Following a period when emphasis was placed on developing various dialogue mechanisms, such as citizens' juries, stakeholder dialogues, consensus conferences and focus groups, to "help society to talk back to science", the focus is increasingly on the actual science and technology processes in a broad sense Demos This move is often described as "upstream", and Demos expresses the challenges as follows in the report The Public Value of Science: It is not a matter of asking people, with whatever limited information they have at their disposal, to say what they think the effects of ill-defined innovations might be.

Rather, it is about moving away from models of prediction and control, which are in any case likely to be flummoxed by the unpredictability of innovation, towards a richer public discussion about the visions, ends and purposes of science. The aim is to broaden the kinds of social influence that shape science and technology, and hold them to account. A constructive societal dialogue presupposes that researchers are capable of opening up research processes as well as acknowledging the limits of their knowledge.

In this way, the issue of governance becomes a question of whether the choices made in research and the premises for making choices are open to scrutiny and participation Kallerud One of the main challenges in the struggle to develop the interplay between research and society concerns the research community's ability to make it possible and interesting for other key societal actors to become involved and engaged.

Thus, developing the societal dialogue calls for major changes in expert systems generally and the research system in particular Jasanoff One central precept relates to "bringing out the citizen in the scientist". This is emphatically a long haul, of nurturing not merely policy shifts valuable though they may bebut profound cultural change in such science fields, their policy and technological uses, and the assumption underpinning them.