Conference on Life Sciences in Society: September 28, 2010, College de France, Paris

Conference on Life Sciences in Society: September 28, 2010, College de France, Paris

As Pierre BOURDIEU’s sees it, “Public opinion does not exist”, whereas according to John DEWEY “Public groups grow in parallel with problems, as the latter arise”, and for Prof. Michel CALLON, ENS Mines de Paris, we are faced with “Emergent Concerned Groups”, a commonplace notion in the USA.

Public opinion, it transpires, is a major actor in scientific policies; however, the notion is not self-evident. The guideline therefore for this one-day conference is to analyse deeper the concepts of “publics”, using various illustrations, for example, the public generated through opinion polls, the ‘net’ publics who exchange via Internet blogs, the emergent concerned groups, the committed public …

Following this step, the audience is invited to look at transformation phenomena of public spheres in life sciences, the latter being marked by several significant features: a higher intrinsic level of education, ‘horizontal’ information exchanges, erosion of the notion of traditional authority, a profusion of public controversies on scientific issues, etc.

Using the idea of ‘co-production’ as the thread-line for the day, and indeed for the following days, the participants will try to systematically analyse the interactions between scientific production and the dynamics of how publics are formed. The talks will be opened by biologists specially involved in research is this area.

Prof. Bernadette BENSAUDE-VINCENT, NATF Fellow, University Paris 10, President of VIVAGORA will participate in session 3, on the theme “What and who are the publics for emergent technologies: a case-study of synthesis in biology”.

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