1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Genomics Forum · Events

Genome Researchers in the Public Sphere

Seminar   26.03.2009






Simone Rödder is a postdoc at the Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IWT) at the University of Bielefeld and a visiting research fellow at the Genomics Forum from February to April 2009. Simone has an academic background in biology, sociology and science communication and holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Bielefeld . She has been trained as a journalist and has worked for several newspapers and magazines. Her research interests include the sociology of visible science, the theory and practice of science communication and the social implications of ge

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ESRC Genomics Forum


3rd Floor, St John's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ

Event details

Details: Scientists are increasingly facing expectations to address audiences other than their peers. Current changes in the relationship between science and the media furthermore raise the question how reliable scientific knowledge can be produced and communicated despite these changes. What does the relevance of the media and demands for visibility mean for the professional self-understanding of scientists? Is media prominence converted into scientific reputation? And what are the implications for the process of knowledge production: Do sound bites eventually replace arguments?

As a case in point, the field of human genome research with its stars and symbolic sequences has been studied by interviewing 55 researchers of the publicly and privately funded genome projects in France, Germany, the UK and the USA.The result of the visibility assessment for the genome field: Even though a media orientation can be found amongst the genome researchers, they insist on the primacy of epistemic criteria for their research. As geeks, missionaries, advocates of knowledge and public scientists, the genome researchers develop specific strategies to include public audiences with regard to science as an institution, meanwhile the autonomy to allocate reputation with regard to the individual scientist remains for peers only. Because the relevant audiences of the institution and the individual differ, there is a systematic ambivalence towards highly visible scientists. The study therefore shows the stability of the normative structure of science; confirming differentiation theory assumptions for the process of knowledge production.

Further details


After the event

Report and video of this seminar will be available soon.