The Sciences

Introducing "Unruly Democracy: Science Blogs and the Public Sphere"--Harvard Kennedy School, April 30

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApr 21, 2010 11:40 AM

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Well now I can expand on yesterday's teaser. Here's the website for the conference. Note, it requires members of the interested public to register in order to attend. Meanwhile, here's the abstract of what we're going to be considering--which, I might add, is not being considered nearly enough:

The blogosphere represents a new kind of deliberative space that is both enlarging and constraining public discourse in unprecedented ways. The key factor about this space, the issue this workshop seeks to explore, is its lack of norms. It is an unruly space in the sense that there are no rules of entry, access, or conduct, except for extreme forms of behavior that are positively illegal. The consequences of this unruliness have been specially severe for scientific communication, which depends on common standards of truth-telling and civility for its progress. In turn, the erosion of scientific standards destabilizes the foundations of democratic deliberation. Can norms of discourse be inserted into the blogosphere that would advance science and democracy? Can blogs induce deliberation or must they encourage extremism and rage to the detriment of public reason? Is science helped or hurt by the new media? What particular distorting factors enter the picture as blogging becomes a business?

My thanks to Sheila Jasanoff

for articulating the questions in such a compelling way. Stand by for my next post, in which I announce the conference speakers roster....and meanwhile, here's the awesome poster again:

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