Scientific Social Responsibility? Tracing Efforts to Socialize Science

Cecilie Glerup, Maja Horst

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It is commonplace for STS scholars to argue that science needs to enhance its accountability toward society (Nowotny et. al. 2002; Guston & Sarewitz 2002; Irwin 1996). However, STS scholars are not the only people who have considered these issues. In the wake of the Manhattan project, scientists formed organizations to make science responsible for its social effects. More recently, ideals of increasing the social acceptability of science through engagement, reflexivity and dialogue seems to have found their way into the heart of policy-making, not least as a way of making science a prime motor for the development of competitive knowledge economies. In the present paper, these developments are all understood as moves to increase the social responsibility of science, i.e. efforts to hold science accountable to wider social, economic and ethical values. Despite the widespread political and theoretical plea for scientific social responsibility (SSR), however, there is a striking lack of knowledge about how it should be (or indeed is) performed in practice. This paper makes a first step in this direction by mapping different interpretations of what scientific social responsibility might entail. It also charts the multiple experiments with different ways of "socializing science," defined both as making the social explicit and as changing the practices of science. In the study of the different approaches, we are particularly occupied with their normative foundation, their definition of the problem which justifies efforts to socialize science, and the way they define the "target" of socialization.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventSociety for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Meeting. 2011 - Cleveland, United States
Duration: 2 Nov 20115 Nov 2011


ConferenceSociety for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Meeting. 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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