Scientific knowledge, controversy, and public decision-making



Publication Details

Martin, B. & Richards, E. (1995). 'Scientific knowledge, controversy, and public decision-making', in S. Jasanoff, G. E. Markle, J. C. Petersen & T. Pinch (Eds.), Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (pp. 506-526). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

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The central and increasingly contentious role of science and technology in modern society has given rise to a plethora of scientific and public controversies over scientific and technical issues. Such controversies often have profound social, political and economic implications, and more and more often they feature public disagreements among scientific, technical or medical experts. Whether the confrontation occurs over the control of AIDS, about the proposed introduction of the "abortion pill," about whether "cold fusion" exists, over the location of an airport, or over the implications of the "greenhouse effect," experts become involved. And many of them become involved not just as consultants or providers of expertise, but as overt and committed defenders or opponents of one side or the other, as active participants in the debate.

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