- The Philosophy of Science Society, Japan
- 科学哲学 (ISSN:02893428)
- vol.43, no.2, pp.2_47-2_65, 2010 (Released:2011-04-01)
In the early 2000s a research movement called SHAKAI GIJUTU (‘social technology’ in English) emerged, and the topic of ‘science communication’ subsequently captured the interest of Japan's STS community. After 2005, some universities made also college courses designed to educate communicators and interpreters for science and technology, focusing on the communication specialist. This paper will examine from the above standpoint the relations between the full-scale neoliberal reform in Japan that started in the mid 1990s and the development of ‘science communication’ that coincided with neoliberal reforms. The theory and practice of ‘science communication’ have focused on ‘interactive communication’ (the contextual model) as an ideal situation for over ten years. However, the understanding of communication and also power are narrow and could be amplified in two ways. First, rather than understand communication and power as relations between actors, the focus could shift to ‘institutions’, the arena where inter-actor communication is made and inter-actor power is exercised. If science communication aims at the public interest, it should be made in the course of changing how broad power and also broad inter-actor communication work, that is, changing or criticizing the shape of ‘institutions’ as media for communication and power. Second, in most cases, the shape of ‘institutions’ that ‘science communication’ has pursued, i.e. ‘interactive communication’ and ‘interactive power relation’, overlaps with the ideology and the social system that the neoliberal social reform has pursued. The neoliberal reform accompanied by the complementary New Civil Society requires ‘interactive communication’ and ‘interactive power relation’ as the ideological institution and the social institution to make commercialization and public-private partnerships work well. Therefore, even if the pursuit of interactive communication looks like the deepening of democracy, the true picture is the market-oriented change of democracy, and consequently it would not realize the public interest achieved by political community. Science communication should be extended into the shape of power and communication that is able to realize the public interest of social rights and social fairness that the neoliberal thought and policy fail in.