Advertisement

The Lure of the Mass Media and Its Repercussions on Science

  • Peter Weingart
Chapter
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 28)

Abstract

The concept of medialization of science as understood in this contribution rests on the distinction developed in differentiation theory between different functional systems in society. Although it is debated if the media are such a system science undoubtedly is. The crucial criterion is the delineation of different ‘publics’ that are addressed by communication. In the case of science the ‘public’ is that of the respective disciplinary or sub-disciplinary practitioners. The expansion of this public to the mass media poses questions such as what happens to the choice of research questions, to quality control of research findings, to the criteria of relevance and reliability, i.e. to self-referentiality of science in general. On the other hand, there are good reasons to regard the delineation of the relevant publics as ‘fuzzy’ which forces one to consider different forms and degrees of medialization as reality not necessarily posing a threat to the pursuit of certified knowledge. The chapter provides a theoretical discussion of medialization from the point of view of the sociology of science which may serve a framework for empirical studies.

Keywords

Knowledge Production Stem Cell Research Media Orientation Broad Public Anthropogenic Global Warming 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Bensaude-Vincent, B. (2001). A genealogy of the increasing gap between science and the public, Public Understanding of Science, 10(1), 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bucchi, M. (1996). When scientists turn to the public: Alternative routes in science communication. Public Understanding of Science, 5(4), 375–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cloître, M. and T. Shinn (1985). Expository practice: Social, cognitive and epistemological linkages. In M. Cloître and T. Shinn (eds.), Expository science: Forms and functions of popularization. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, pp. 31–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Epstein, S. (1995). The construction of lay expertise: AIDS activism and the forging of credibility in the reform of clinical trials. Science, Technology & Human Values, 20(4), 408–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Espeland, W. and M. Sauder (2007). Rankings and reactivity: How public measures recreate social worlds. American Journal of Sociology, 113(1), 1–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Europäische Kommission (ed.) (2010). Eurobarometer Science and Technology Report.Google Scholar
  7. Fleck, L. (1980). Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  8. Franzen, M. (2011). Breaking news. Wissenschaftliche Zeitschriften im Kampf um Aufmerksamkeit. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  9. Lewenstein, B. V. (1995). From fax to facts: Communication in the cold fusion saga. Social Studies of Science, 25(3), 403–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Luhmann, N. (1990). Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  11. Luhmann, N. (1995). Social systems, Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kaiser, M., et al. (eds.) (2010). Governing future technologies. Nanotechnology and the rise of an assessment regime, Yearbook Sociology of the Sciences 27. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Maasen, S. and P. Weingart (2000). Metaphors and the dynamics of knowledge. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Peters, H. P., et al. (2008). Medialization of science as a prerequisite of its legitimation and political relevance. In D. Cheng et al. (eds.), Communicating science in social contexts: New models, new practices. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 71–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rödder, S. (2009). Wahrhaft sichtbar. Humangenomforscher in der Öffentlichkeit. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  16. Weingart, P. (1998). Science and the media. Research Policy, 27(9), 869–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Weingart, P. (2005). Impact of bibliometrics upon the science system: Inadvertent consequences? Scientometrics, 62, 117–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Weingart, P. and P. Pansegrau (1999). Reputation in science and prominence in the media – The Goldhagen Debate. Public Understanding of Science, 8(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Weingart, P., A. Engels, and P. Pansegrau (2007). Von der Hypothese zur Katastrophe. Der anthropogene Klimawandel im Diskurs zwischen Wissenschaft, Politik und Massenmedien. With cooperation of Tillmann Hornschuh (2nd ed.). Leverkusen Opladen: Barbara Budrich.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bielefeld University

Personalised recommendations