Book Chapter on the Framing Science Debate
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
I recently submitted a final draft of a book chapter that reviews much of the research that has fueled the framing science debate. The chapter is set to appear in early 2008 in a volume titled New Agendas in Science Communication, published by Taylor & Francis and edited by JoAnn Kahlor and Patricia Stout at the University of Texas. You can read a PDF of the final draft here.
In the chapter, I synthesize the findings and conclusions from many previously published studies and articles. Detailing the specific cases of nuclear energy, evolution, and climate change, I demonstrate the generalizable ways that framing drives the dynamics of science controversies. For researchers, this previous theory building and empirical work contributes importantly to the careful conceptualization and identification of campaign strategies, media messages, and their influence. For scientists and communication professionals, the research offers valuable lessons for effective public engagement strategy, though these lessons are not without several important ethical and normative considerations.
On these final themes, I am currently working on two other book chapters to be published in early and late 2009 respectively. The first focuses specifically on the challenges of translating research on framing into communication strategy at organizations, institutions, and on the part of social movements. The second chapter is on the "ethics of framing science," evaluating the new communication roles played by scientists, journalists, and organizations in a rapidly changing media and political system. As I finish these chapters, and several studies that are scheduled to be sent off for journal review, I am hoping to have a book proposal completed by the end of the fall semester. So, yes, things are going to be busy!
For a full list of past and forthcoming articles and chapters, including PDFs, go here.
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