The social construction of science: What does it mean?

40 years ago science was still carried out in an ivory tower, scientists were highly respected bearers of truth and certainty and labs were mysterious and closed spaces.* Then came along some young and enterprising social scientists and showed that scientists are human, labs are places of messy human practices and science is fallible. Science …

Promises, promises, promises

It all started with this tweet – a conversation between Oliver Morton, Jack Stilgoe and David Keith about the hopes and fears related to geoengineering. In this conversation, they stumbled against the words ‘promise’ and ‘promising’, with Oliver and Keith interpreting them in terms of ordinary language use, while Jack interpreted them also in terms …

Improving climate change communications: moving beyond scientific certainty

This is a co-authored post with Gregory Hollin. It is based upon our new paper in Nature Climate Change, which is the first piece of original research from science and technology studies (STS) published in the journal. In the last 25 years scientists have become increasingly certain that humans are responsible for changes to the …

STS Concepts

For many years I have been working alongside a number of eminent Science and Technology Studies researchers. During that time I have come across many concepts that at first baffled me, then intrigued me and then prompted me to dig into their conceptual history. This blog provided me with a good space to engage in …

You say regulatory science, I say mandated science; let’s call the whole thing off?

One issue of contention after the Circling the Square conference was the apparent confounding of science with regulatory science. I finally took a bit of time to dig into the history and use of the concept of ‘regulatory science’ and a related concept, ‘mandated science’. I should stress that there are whole courses on ‘regulatory …

Families of climate scepticism I: faulty science?

At last week’s British Sociological Association conference, I presented some initial observations from my research on climate change scepticism. My starting point was that climate change scepticism – or as it is often inaccurately described, denial – is not monolithic. Those people typically labelled as sceptics vary in their arguments. Sometimes may employ many different arguments, some may focus on …

Ulrike Felt: Science as a ‘Public Good’ in Search of a ‘Good Public’

With only four days to go to the Making Science Public launch event next Monday, February 11th, we are providing a taster of our keynote speech from Professor Ulrike Felt, Professor and Head of the Department of Social Studies of Science at the University of Vienna. We have fewer than ten places left for the …