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Bill Brydon

Science as 'Horrible': Irreverent Deference in Science Communication - Science as Cultu... - 0 views

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    "Horrible Science is a popular UK-based brand of books, toys and magazines aimed at 7-11 year olds. At first sight, the term 'horrible' might be taken as embodying a critique of science and technology. However, a closer look reveals Horrible Science quite playfully twisting between positive and negative uses of the word, often transforming the latter into the former in the process. The horrible of Horrible Science is clearly signalled as fun. It is domesticated to undermine any sense of fear associated with its imagery. Moreover, the horrible of Horrible Science becomes related to an imagery of truth which is deferential to the work and social standing of the scientific community; it draws analogies between the horrible and science in terms of granting hardness, exclusivity, and even an intuitive closeness to nature. Horrible Science's cultural critique of science and technology, as much as they exist, are accommodated within a traditional discourse of celebrating scientific achievements and deferring to its expertise. By sampling more irreverent discourses, Horrible Science offers a way to excuse a type of earnest reverence, delight and excitement for science that had become unfashionable by the end of the twentieth century. It packages science for sale to a 'public' who want to enjoy science and be seen doing so, but who are also aware of the advantages of their outsider identity. In Horrible Science, an irreverent deference is a form of quite 'late modern' science communication, one that feels the need to show awareness of critique and counter-arguments if it to be trusted by its critically aware audiences."
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