The series focus this year is on the intersection of science, public communication, and politics, with a number of top scholars in the field slated to speak across the summer. Below is a description of my talk, representing many of the themes discussed at this blog, in forthcoming articles and book chapters, or in current projects.
What's Next for Science Communication?
Despite recent innovations in science communication such as deliberative forums, the application of framing research, and partnerships with the arts and humanities, these approaches are still all too commonly defined as simply novel ways to persuade the public to view scientific debates as scientists and their allies do. Instead, the question should not be how to "sell" the public on science and emerging technologies; but rather how to use communication research and its applications to empower greater public participation in the governance of these issues.
Elaborating on his much-discussed articles published at Science, Environment, The Scientist, and other leading outlets, Nisbet argues that the sophistication of these emerging communication strategies needs to be complemented by an equally sophisticated view of public engagement. In particular, in areas such as biotechnology, evolution, and climate change, Nisbet emphasizes the need to use framing, partnerships with the arts, and new forms of digital journalism to generate "participatory conversations" with diverse publics and stakeholders that result in meaningful impacts on policy choices and decisions.