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A Historical Perspective on Science and Its “Others”

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Isis
Vol. 100, No. 2 (June 2009), pp. 359-368
DOI: 10.1086/599547
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/599547
Page Count: 10
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A Historical Perspective on Science and Its “Others”
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Reflecting on the debate about the value of the category “popular science” to historians, this essay argues that the model of legitimate science that is currently emerging invites us to consider how the notions of science and the public have been mutually configured and reconfigured over time. It begins by pointing to the tremendous impact of technosciences on the public sphere. The recent shift from the deficit model to the participatory model has profoundly changed the values underlying science communication. Whereas previously such communication was performed in the name of science, it is now performed in the name of democracy. This political turn suggests that we should consider symmetrically not only how science and its public face are socially constructed but also how the notion of a lay public has been constructed by scientific practices. Finally, the essay suggests that historical studies should focus on the mechanisms of demarcation and discrimination between science and rival forms of knowledge.

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