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Contesting democracy: scientific popularisation and popular choice

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During the same period in which political decisions became increasingly indistinguishable from decisions about science and technology, science and technology became increasingly incomprehensible to all but a few specialists. Maintaining a healthy participatory democracy under such conditions meant keeping the voting public involved – and science popularisation presented itself a means of doing just that. Science popularisation was to enable voters to make sensible decisions about policies relevant to science and technology. But could popularisations really supply sufficient information to validate those decisions? And what if the voters didn’t agree with the experts? The formation of Science Service in the 1920s is taken as an exemplary case where the unproblematic dissemination of scientific facts is revealed to be inextricably bound up with more problematic issues about regulating the scope of public choice.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22516/1/2007AdamsWP.pdf

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