The Lure of the Mass Media and Its Repercussions on Science

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


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.


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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bielefeld University

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