Mapping the Shift from Public Understanding of Science to Public Engagement with Science: the case of Kerala Sasthra Sashithya Parishath

Author: Jawhar Cholakkathodi

Now, more than ever, the engagement between science and everyday life has become very strong. We are living in an age where science and technology has become an inseparable part of our life, the interrelation between science and society demands an active academic and public debate. Science movement is an important access strip to understand the relationship between science and society. This paper is an attempt to understand science movement through the framework of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Science movement strive to popularize science among the general public in different ways, and to pose critical questions about the applications of modern science and technology. The study focuses on the Kerala Sasthra Sashithya Parishath (KSSP) (hereafter Parishath) as a case study of science movements. Parishath is a people’s science movement that emerged in Kerala, the southernmost state in India, in the 1960s. It strives to take modern science and technology to the common people and educate them about the potential risks and benefits of the same. The Parishath, through its activities, developed a political movement in the context of science and technology. The Parishath is entering into fiftieth year of its active and vibrant engagement with Kerala public sphere. In this historical juncture, it’s very important to take stock of the role of this People’s Science Movement (PSM) in the construction of a sustainable future.