Lucilla Federica Losi

Hidden Engagements: Exploring Europeans’ Public (Dis)Engagement with Science

Science and technology have pervasive roles in contemporary individual and social lives, shaping public discourse, policy decisions and societal values. The contemporary relevance of studying the relationship between science and society in the European context lies in the need to foster effective communication, accessibility and inclusivity in science and ensuring that the public is informed, engaged and empowered in navigating the complexities of scientific advances and their social and democratic implications. This study seeks to explore the mechanisms that connect the public with science. It offers insights to inform novel strategies of science communication and policymaking and ultimately contributes to a more informed and participatory society in the realm of science and technology. This project adopts an open and exploratory approach in which the public is not framed as deficient in science knowledge, trust or engagement, but is consulted as lay expert. Drawing on theoretical concepts from sociology, political science, and science and technology studies, this research examines how socio-demographic characteristics interact with public engagement with science, addressing challenges such as the narrow conceptualization of engagement, the overemphasis on deliberation and the lack of diversity among the engaged public. I explore this relationship by combining statistical analyses and interviews with members of the population. This research highlights the relevance of an inclusive definition of engagement, expanding the goals of science communication while emphasizing public accountability of institutions.


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