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Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
Power in science communication collaborations

by Megan Halpern and Michael O'Rourke

In this comment, we focus on the ways power impacts science communication collaborations. Following Fischhoff's suggestion of focusing on internal consultation within science communication activities, we examine the ways such consultation is complicated by existing power structures, which tend to prioritize scientific knowledge over other knowledge forms. This prioritization works in concert with funding structures and with existing cultural and social hierarchies to shape science communication in troubling ways. We discuss several strategies to address problematic power structures. These strategies may reveal and thus mitigate problems in individual collaborations, but these collaborations exist within a larger infrastructure in need of systemic change.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Oct 14, 2019 Article
Science stories as culture: experience, identity, narrative and emotion in public communication of science

by Sarah Rachael Davies, Megan Halpern, Maja Horst, David Kirby and Bruce Lewenstein

The last three decades have seen extensive reflection concerning how science communication should be modelled and understood. In this essay we propose the value of a cultural approach to science communication — one that frames it primarily as a process of meaning-making. We outline the conceptual basis for this view of culture, drawing on cultural theory to suggest that it is valuable to see science communication as one aspect of (popular) culture, as storytelling or narrative, as ritual, and as collective meaning-making. We then explore four possible ways that a cultural approach might proceed: by mobilising ideas about experience; by framing science communication through identity work; by focusing on fiction; and by paying attention to emotion. We therefore present a view of science communication as always entangled within, and itself shaping, cultural stories and meanings. We close by suggesting that one benefit of this approach is to move beyond debates concerning ‘deficit or dialogue’ as the key frame for public communication of science.

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019

Sep 30, 2019 Commentary
Feminist standpoint theory and science communication

by Megan Halpern

This commentary introduces feminist standpoint theory and discusses its potential value in science communication. It offers two ways in which feminist standpoints can help in both research and practice. First, science communicators should aim to understand the perspective from which they understand and share scientific knowledge. Second, practitioners and researchers alike should seek insights from marginalized groups to help inform the ways the dominant view of science reflects hegemonic social and cultural norms.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019