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Misunderstanding Science?
The Public Reconstruction of Science and Technology


Alan Irwin, Brian Wynne, Alison Dale, Denis Smith, Sharon Macdonald, Helen Lambert, Hilary Rose, Frances Price, Mike Michael, Rosemary McKechnie, Steven Yearley
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  • Date Published: June 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521525206

£ 35.99

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About the Authors
  • Misunderstanding Science? offers a challenging new perspective on the public understanding of science. In so doing, it also challenges existing ideas of the nature of science and its relationships with society. Its analysis and case presentation are highly relevant to current concerns over the uptake, authority, and effectiveness of science as expressed, for example, in areas such as education, medical/health practice, risk and the environment, technological innovation. Based on several in-depth case-studies, and informed theoretically by the sociology of scientific knowledge, the book shows how the public understanding of science questions raises issues of the epistemic commitments and institutional structures which constitute modern science. It suggests that many of the inadequacies in the social integration and uptake of science might be overcome if modern scientific institutions were more reflexive and open about the implicit normative commitments embedded in scientific cultures.

    • Comes at a time when media and public attention to the public understanding of science is growing
    • Offers a new perspective on the relationships between science and its publics
    • Non-technical language
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The case studies in Irwin and Wynne's volume ... contain several insights that scientists would find stimulating.' A. J. Meadows, Nature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521525206
    • length: 244 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 3 maps 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Alan Irwin and Brian Wynne
    1. Misunderstood misunderstandings: social identities and the public uptake of science Brian Wynne
    2. Science and hell's kitchen: the local understanding of hazard issues Alan Irwin, Alison Dale and Denis Smith
    3. Authorising science: public understanding of science in museums Sharon Macdonald
    4. Disembodied knowledge? Making sense of medical science Helen Lambert and Hilary Rose
    5. Now you see it, now you don't: mediating science and managing uncertainty in reproductive medicine Frances Price
    6. Knowing ignorance and ignoring knowledge: discourses of ignorance in the public understanding of science Mike Michael
    7. Insiders and outsiders: identifying experts on home ground Rosemary McKechnie
    8. Nature's advocates: on putting science to work in environmental organisations Steven Yearley.

  • Editors

    Alan Irwin, Brunel University

    Brian Wynne, Lancaster University


    Alan Irwin, Brian Wynne, Alison Dale, Denis Smith, Sharon Macdonald, Helen Lambert, Hilary Rose, Frances Price, Mike Michael, Rosemary McKechnie, Steven Yearley

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