How Can the History of Earth Sciences Help to Explain Contemporary Distrust Towards Science in General?
In this Latest Thinking video, Director of Dept. II Etienne Benson explains how the history of river studies helps to show more general changes in the relationship between science, local producers of knowledge, and politics. Benson highlights some shifts in mid-twentieth century river studies which saw these studies on water becoming more mathematical, quantitative, and focused on national policy. For Benson, this change is the cause of a disconnect between local river users, river scientists, and policy makers. He argues that similar processes can be observed in many other disciplines. According to Benson this example helps elucidate how contemporary distrust towards science can develop.
Correspondingly, Benson further illustrates how the new Department established at the MPIWG will investigate the increasing distance and distrust between scientists and people affected by their work. It will explore the social, political, and cultural contexts of scientific practices, and will examine a range of sciences and knowledge producers, including classical scientists and those on the ground. The goal is to better understand the relationship between different ways of making knowledge and identifying possible solutions.
© Etienne Benson & Latest Thinking
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