Science communication studies: Where are we now?

Science communication studies: Where are we now?

Author: Massimiano Bucchi – Università di Trento, Italy


  • Germana Barata – State University of Campinas-Unicamp, Brazil
  • Maja Horst – DTU, Denmark
  • Julia Metag – University of Muenster, Germany
  • Brian Trench – DCU, Ireland

The panel will examine key ideas and trends in science communication studies as the field has developed during the last decade.

What is the common lexicon, what are the core ideas, theoretical and empirical backgrounds that a student of science communication is supposed to be familiar with today?

The panel is organised in connection with the publication in 2020 of the 3rd edition of the Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (Routledge).

How has the field changed during the decade since the first edition of the Handbook appeared (2008) and what are the current trends and challenges?

The panel will feature the two editors and two contributors of the Handbook, plus a discussant.

Maja Horst will offer insights from the cultural-sociological study of science communication. In particular, she will discuss issues of identity and sense-making. Science communication is not just about making complicated things simple, so that lay-people can understand them. It is also about who we are as citizens, scientists and scientific organisations in a modern knowledge society.

Julia Metag will address issues in the analysis of science publics, such as the relationship between information behaviour and attitudes towards science, the formation of different segments in the public as well as methodological questions of researching science publics.

Massimiano Bucchi and Brian Trench will propose an expanded definition of science communication that embraces informal, non-purposive communication as well as that which is targeted and strategic, and that goes beyond the deficit versus dialogue dispute that remains an undercurrent of current discussions.

Germana Barata will add further insights and elements for discussion.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Time