Scientific mediation: on social processes, contexts and networks in which scientists are embedded

Abstract: 

Science and Technology Studies have discussed extensively over the social factors that hinder and facilitate scientific-technological activities. Some authors even have attempted to grasp the cultural and power conflicts involved in the definition of concepts, paradigms and research programmes. I will present here a reflection on the concept of 'scientific mediation' which provides a complementary approach about the social networks that constrain, help and constitute scientific research activities. A definition of this concept and some empirical examples will be provided. Nonetheless, I want to emphasise the social processes and contexts that allow us to understand mediations as something else than mere communication and conflict resolution. Secondly, I will defend such an approach in order to support scientific research, but I think that the analysis of scientific mediation needs to be clearly separated from the ideal conceptions of knowledge-society and democratic-ethos. Socialisation of science, finally, is stressed in its meaning of collectively sharing useful knowledge for the improvement of social justice.

Published: 

18 December 2009