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Taking Our Own Medicine: On an Experiment in Science Communication


In 2007 a social scientist and a designer created a spatial installation to communicate social science research about the regulation of emerging science and technology. The rationale behind the experiment was to improve scientific knowledge production by making the researcher sensitive to new forms of reactions and objections. Based on an account of the conceptual background to the installation and the way it was designed, the paper discusses the nature of the engagement enacted through the experiment. It is argued that experimentation is a crucial way of making social science about science communication and engagement more robust.

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Fig. 1


  1. This is not a quote from an actual person, but a compilation of observations and different experiences produced by the encounter with the installation discussed in the present paper.

  2. Although, if we had conceived of ourselves as artists, we might have thought about this point differently.

  3. This method was chosen because it did not disturb the experiment of testing the installation without mediation. Denmark does not have a requirement or even tradition for Institutional Review Board approval of social science. To obtain informed consent would have ruined the experiment, but visitors were clearly warned that they would be videotaped for research purposes by a large sign at the entrance to the installation.


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The experiment and research were made possible through a grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities.

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Correspondence to Maja Horst.

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Horst, M. Taking Our Own Medicine: On an Experiment in Science Communication. Sci Eng Ethics 17, 801–815 (2011).

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