Engaged Science

The Research Group

The question of the extent to which scientists should get involved in public debates is answered in very different ways. In countries such as Great Britain, for example, interactions with the public represent an evaluation criterion for excellent science. And in Germany, too, individual funding institutions consider dialogical communication formats between science and the public as a criterion. Elsewhere, the motto "we don't want to get political" applies, and committed public interventions by scientists are not considered compatible with the ideal of "disinterest" (R. Merton). Obviously, there is a tension between the public mandate to science to produce "objective" and "neutral" findings on the one hand, and the public articulation of the positions of scientific actors on the other - even if they are based on scientific findings.



This tension has recently become increasingly apparent in discussions about the "impact" of science, about effective science communication, about scientific policy and economic advice, about constructions of scientific objectivity, but also about expert cultures and possible forms of pluralistic science. The Working Group for Engaged Science enters this field of tension. It focuses on (individual and institutional) scientific practices, role concepts, conflicts and dilemmas, and aims at an interdisciplinary discourse on the question: What are the principles of "good" engaged science and where are its limits?


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