Aarhus Universitets segl

New article by Kristian H. Nielsen (with J-B. Gouyon, C. Turbil, F. Kohlt, and C. Sleigh): "Science communication and scientism: historical perspectives"

In Science communication: taking a step back to move forward, eds. M. W. Bauer and B. Schiele (CNRS Editions, 2023): 385-396.


The term ‘scientism’ has enjoyed renewed currency in science commu-nication scholarship. The debate mobilizing this concept rests on the notion that every science is value-laden and that so-called scientific objectivity is itself a con-struct rather than ontologically intrinsic to science. What is contested in this de-bate is the sciences’ hegemonic temptation. What we call in this chapter ‘scientis-tic science communication’ tends to promote an anthropocentric view of the world, reducing its complexity to what can be scientifically known. This chapter first adopts a historical perspective to explore the trend that leads the communi-cation of science to become a channel for scientism. It looks at scientific hagi-ographies as a case of scientistic science communication and ends with a discus-sion of recent examples of non-scientistic science communication, to point to Wiebe Bijker’s concept of ‘bold modesty’.

Science communication : taking a step back to move forward - CNRS Editions