Talking with the Scientists: Promoting Scientific Citizenship at School through Participatory and Deliberative Approach

Federica Cornali


Unceasing and pervasive, techno-scientific innovation has changed the social demand for science education over the last few decades. Science education is no longer asked only to train specialists for the technical and scientific professions or for research, but strives to spread science for the citizen. The challenge is to make most people capable of seeing and understanding the impact of science and technology in everyday life, of thinking critically about them and making informed decisions. In recent decades, moreover, the frequent controversies (e.g. on genetic engineering) – as well as the string of alarming events (such as the climate change) where science and politics failed to provide decisive solutions – have stimulated lively interest in public participation in fields traditionally dominated by specialists expertise. This paper, after a brief introduction to the concept of civic scientific literacy and its recent developments, will focus on practices of deliberative democracy that allow citizens to participate directly in decision-making about socio-scientific issues. Starting from an analysis of an initiative conducted in Italian high schools, the paper discusses the contribution that introducing participatory and deliberative practices in a school setting can play in promoting scientific citizenship.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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