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A Vision for Science and Society?

By ucrhbrb, on 1 October 2008

Two quotes from the on-going public consultation by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, A Vision for Science and Society:  http://interactive.dius.gov.uk/scienceandsociety/site/

“The Government is committed to creating a society that is excited about science and values its importance to our social and economic well-being; feels confident in its use; and supports a representative, well-qualified workforce”


“As the pace of scientific development accelerates, so too does the pace of change in our society.  Our challenge is to make the most of the talents of all our people so that Britain can compete in this globalised world of the future.   Such a fast pace has the potential to have the harshest impact on those least equipped to respond.  We want to ensure that everyone is able to share in the increasing prosperity and the opportunities that scientific progress brings and nobody gets left behind”


Am I being unfair by picking on these two quotes or does the consultation document make a range of assumptions that most people with a rudimentary knowledge of STS would question:


1. The pace of scientific change drives social change (linear model?)

2. Science impacts on society (but apart from direct public engagement, society doesn’t influence science?)

3. The public as ‘consumer’ of science (what about citizenship, critic, advocate, collborator…?)

4. Excited people = ‘confident’ people

5. The aim of science is to contribute to economic competitiveness (only??)

6. Science brings opportunities but not challenges (?)

7. Scientists are autonomous knowledge producers (except insofar as they are ‘engaged with’ or made to ‘communicate to the public’)


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