Reflecting on the <em>Science</em> in Science Communication


  • Kelly Bronson St. Thomas University



Science communication, Discourse analysis, Constructivism, Biotechnology, Controversy


Science communication is often understood as the transmission of facts to ignorant audiences. Science and Technology Studies allows a different perspective on science—as open to negotiation with other knowledges and institutions—and therefore a different perspective on its communication. Within an STS perspective, what counts as scientific fact or legitimate expertise takes shape within communicative acts. This article demonstrates the analytical purchase given by taking such an approach to science communication by applying it to a case analysis of biotechnology resistance on the Canadian Prairie.

La communication scientifique est souvent comprise comme la transmission de faits à un public ignorant. Etudes des science et technologies (STS) nous proposent une perspective différente sur la science—comme un ensemble de contenus ouverts à la négociation avec d’autres savoirs et institutions—et donc une perspective décalée en termes de communication. Dans une perspective STS, ce qui est considéré comme un fait scientifique ou une expertise légitime prend forme dans des actes de communication. Cet article démontre la pertinence de ce type d’analyse pour appréhender la communication scientifique en l’appliquant à une étude de cas portant sur la résistance face aux biotechnologies dans la Prairie canadienne.

Author Biography

Kelly Bronson, St. Thomas University

Kelly Bronson left lab-bench science when she found she was more interested in thinking about science's social relationships. Her PhD (York University, Communication and Culture, 2013) focused on the Canadian courts' ability to mediate in disputes between farmers and big biotech. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies at St. Thomas University, focussing on bringing citizens into nanotechnology research using new media tools.