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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2012

The social sciences and the communication of sciences and techniques in France (1960-2010): implications, experimentation and critique

Résumé

This chapter details how attention to issues of communication has influenced science studies research in France, in an interdisciplinary convergence of different theoretical trends in the social sciences. Three of those trends are the long-standing attention paid to discourse analysis and to media products; a sociological tradition concerned with relations of legitimacy; and new currents in ethnography focusing on familiar and contemporary cultural practices. The contributions of communication and information sciences to the conceptualization of science in society are connected with the question of symbolic and material mediations that organize the production and life of knowledge in society, especially in the public sphere. A link has been established in France between research on science communication and research on cultural mediation. While the profession has developed mediation as a way of connecting separate spheres, another trend of academic and professional researches theorizes social communication as a continuous, collective creation of references, practices and objects. This chapter also emphasizes the tension between academic research, involvement in cultural production and involvement in the market for communication devices and expertise. It opens on to issues concerning theoretical and critical understandings of the world, the managerial production of devices for functional communication and, finally, the cultural and social questioning of the links between academic and lay knowledge. Collaboration between researchers and actors in scientific and technical culture is strengthened by a common desire to defend a democratic ideal of public service and sharing of knowledge, which is quite different from the marketization of access to services and knowledge. The major results of science communication research might be a displacement of the symbolic border stretching between academic knowledge associated with functional models of expertise, and practical knowledge. A new border might separate, in a more fundamental way, technical models of expertise and complex models of the life of knowledge.
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Dates et versions

hal-01310000 , version 1 (01-05-2016)

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Michèle Gellereau, Yves Jeanneret, Joëlle Le Marec. The social sciences and the communication of sciences and techniques in France (1960-2010): implications, experimentation and critique. Bernard Schiele, Michel Claessens, Shunke Shi. Science communication in the world: Practices, theories and trends, Springer, pp.109-123, 2012, 978-94-007-4278-9. ⟨10.1007/978-94-007-4279-6_7⟩. ⟨hal-01310000⟩
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