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EMBL Forum Lectures


Martin W. Bauer

Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 16:00 Large Operon

Martin W. Bauer, London School of Economics

The Cultural Authority of Science across Europe and Beyond


Eurobarometer surveys, the survey instrument of the EC in Brussels, has been asking questions pertaining to public sentiments regarding science and technology in 1989, 1992, 2001, and 2005. A series of four related EB surveys have recently been integrated into a single database (N> 60,000 observations and 60 variables). This corpus of observations constitutes a unique longitudinal and comparative database to study for the dynamics of the culture authority of science across Europe EU-12 and EU-28. Comparable questions include items on knowledge of, interest and confidence in, and attitudes toward science as a social institution.

In this talk I compare stabilities and changes over time relevant to some of these general indicators, and situate the trajectory within the wider context of a quest for Global Cultural Indicators for science. One of the key opportunities of this analysis will be to disentangle the effects of significant historical periods and of generational cohorts on the cultural authority of science in the different countries. While, surveys are only one stone in the puzzle of scientific culture, these patterns of results offer a complex explanandum that calls for further historical and sociological investigations.  


Short biography

Martin W. Bauer is Professor of Social Psychology at the LSE Institute of Social Psychology; currently Head of the LSE Methodology Institute and Editor of Public Understanding of Science. He researchers the societal conversation of science in a comparative perspective and assesses the cultural authority of science in society. He is currently engaged in developing cultural indicators of science in a global perspective. Forthcoming publications are Atoms, Bytes and Genes - Public Resistance and Techno-Scientific Responses, New York, Routledge (for 2011) and The Culture of Science - how does the public relate to science across the globe? New York, Routledge (in preparation with Nick Allum and Rajesh Shukla).