Press and Pop Culture

Communicating Science—Beyond the Common Sense Model

In other words, the very absence of critical examination should alert us to the power of that which is left unexamined. For example, writing about the failure of the Mechanics’ Institutes in the 19th century Shapin and Barnes said that the mechanics were able “to sniff ideology and reject it”; and it was in search of a “scentless ideology” that Roger Cooter studied phrenology. What goes unquestioned is what has the greatest hold over us. Far from providing us with analytical tools the common-sense view of science communication should instead be our object of inquiry.

As I explain to my students every year, the most powerful ideology is the one which is not seen as ideological.

Peter Broks, “A Personal Retrospective of Science Communication, part 2” from his Understanding Popular Science ( link).