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Constructed facts, contested truths: Science and environment controversies in media and public spaces

01.08.2019 16:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

January 8-10 ,2020

Brighton, UK

Deadline: August 27, 2019

ECREA Section on Science and Environmental Communication workshop at the MeCCSA

A re-occurring theme in public debates is how to understand and talk about controversies pertaining to science and the environment. As climate change is pushed further forward on the international political agenda and as new technologies emerge, dilemmas of how humans interact with nature, technologies, capital and each other once again become ever more present in public debate. This puts well-known as well as new dilemmas on the current and future role of science in society into question. On the one hand, political actors rely on science to produce the facts and evidence required as inputs in decision-making. On the other hand, the privileged position of science to provide the answers is increasingly challenged in the public domain in the face of scientific uncertainty, complexity and disagreement.

Recent developments in relation to social and digital media have in particular raised the issue of factuality and truths in public debate. Particularly questions on how to maintain scientific integrity in an increasingly politicized environment are brought forward and accentuated by social and digital media. Moreover, media technologies increasingly invade the small-scale choices of everyday lives as well as larger societal and political questions on our interaction with the environment, technologies, health, risks etc. While authors in the field either endorse or take issue with the notion of post-truth, the question still remains how to make sense of the circulations of conflicting facts in current public debates on climate-change, pollution, vaccination, food safety and many other areas. This calls for a need to understand the role of media in conveying, spreading, contesting and constructing facts and truths about science and the environment.

In two connected workshops we will address the question of how facts are presented and constructed in the media, or other public fora, in relation to environmental and scientific controversies. We welcome theoretical, methodological or empirical papers, extended abstracts and case studies presenting new knowledge concerning all aspects of the circulation, construction and contestation of facts and truths in relation to science and the environment including but not limited to:

  • Analysis of the construction of truths and facts in all kinds of media and public debate
  • The role of social media in constructing facts within digital networks of communication
  • Visualisations of science and environmental information, debates and facts
  • Public contestations of scientific doxa
  • The role played by facts and the presentations of truths in deliberative or radical democratic processes relating to decisions on science and the environment
  • Issues of public trust in and the legitimization of key actors (eg. public authorities, industry, media) in fact-making processes
  • The role of digital literacy and journalists as educators for increasing public environmental engagement

Participating papers of a high academic standard will be considered for publication in an anthology under the workshop headline. For more information on the MeCCSA Conference see:

Please send your 200 word abstract to Mette Marie Roslyng by 27. August 2019:



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