Tag Archives: dialogue

What is PUS and PEST ?

In the 1980s, scientists in the UK and the US warned that people stopped listening to Science, and that this was very dangerous. They started a movement called the Public Understanding of Science (PUS) based on a report for the Royal Society by Budmer (1985).

The scientists argued five main reasons to promote the PUS: benefits to Science, benefits to National Economics, benefits to Individuals, benefits to Democratic Government and Society as a whole, and benefits to people’s intelligence, aesthetic and morality.

It suggests that the more people know science the more people love science. So increased PUS will lead to more funding, looser regulation, and more trained scientist.

The proponents of PUS argued that scientists needed to make greater efforts to inform the public about science and that this could be done by using various media-from conventional newspaper to displays in shipping walls- to transmit information about the facts and processes of science to lay people.

The PUS movement is laid on the deficit model, people have a deficit of understanding of science, so the public is construed as passive and lacking in information about science. Whilst the focus of the deficit model was on the lack of information, it has much in common with the transmission model of science communication. In this sense, the public had no role to play in making meaning out of the message.

Soon after the PUS was kicked up; however, scholars including educationalists and sociologists complained that those notion of PUS and deficit model were not only ineffective, but could be considered morally resisted. Even they set up their own camp in opposition.

As well as scientists, sociologists also evoked for a new model to replace the PUS. Wynne and Irwin argued that publics were active and capable in dealing with science. Also, a report of House of Lords (2000) formalized the idea of dialogue which is not a one-side communication from scientists to the public, but a mutual communication among scientists and public.

In 2005, Wynne argued public engagement of science and technology (PEST). Work may go under participation or dialogue. Now we prefer PEST.

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