This month’s episode is about activism and science communication, and whether or not they should be combined. There are obvious tensions here because science is meant to be as objective as possible, while activism is characteristically impulsive and political. And, of course, there can be activists on both sides of a debate. There can also be incomplete or poorly reported science, upon which that activism is based. On the other hand, could there be a role for scientists to guide activism, making it more rooted in fact, more strategic, and more appealing in its approach?
Andrea Bandelli is a science communicator, and former Head of International Relations at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. He helps to unravel this topic, pointing out that activism need not be “brutal”, and arguing for more overlap between science communicators and activists.
Links to resources
Activists as “alternative” science communicators — Exploring the facets of science communication in societal contexts - A relevant set of commentaries in the Journal of Science Communication
The blurred boundaries between science and activism - A relevant article by Andrea, with self-explanatory title
The Construction of Lay Expertise: AIDS Activism and the Forging of Credibility in the Reform of Clinical Trials - An article from the 90s, the topic of which Andrea uses as an example in the episode