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The culture of science communication has undergone a metamorphosis in the past decade. Until recently, science research councils referred to the ’public understanding of science’ (with the unfortunate acronym of PUS), which, by implication, follows the ’deficit model’ of science communication, in which the primary aim is to inform or to enhance the scientific literacy of the public. Scientists often believe that they only need to explain their research to the public for their ideas to be accepted. It is abundantly clear that this is not the case. Those with higher levels of education are as likely to reject the use of modern biotechnology as those with little educational achievement. The problem with the PUS approach is that science requires, as do many disciplines, considerable technical investment to reach the level of knowledge at which individuals are in the position to form their own judgements. Individuals might, therefore, make a rational decision to ignore much of the science and to trust other organizations and stakeholder groups to judge the technical issues on their behalf. However, under the deficit model, such individuals could find that their role in the debate is severely restricted.
Istället för en linjär process betonar man i det nya alternativa synsättet till public understanding of science betydelsen av återkoppling, ”the equal need for scientists, regulators and government to understand public concerns and issues.”
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