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Science-related populism: Conceptualizing populist demands towards science


Mede, Niels G.; Schäfer, Mike S (2020). Science-related populism: Conceptualizing populist demands towards science. Public Understanding of Science, 29(5):473-491.

Abstract

Populism is on the rise in many countries. Scholars have stated that it is characteristic for political populism to describe society as a fundamental struggle between an allegedly virtuous people and political elites which are portrayed negatively. This anti-elitist sentiment does not only target politicians, however, but also other representatives of the alleged establishment - including scientists and scholarly institutions. But the specifics of such science-related populism have not been conceptualized yet. We aim to do so, integrating scholarship on political populism, the ‘participatory turn’, and alternative epistemologies. We propose to conceptualize science-related populism as a set of ideas which suggests that there is a morally charged antagonism between an (allegedly) virtuous ordinary people and an (allegedly) unvirtuous academic elite, and that this antagonism is due to the elite illegitimately claiming and the people legitimately demanding both science-related decision-making sovereignty as well as truth-speaking sovereignty.

Abstract

Populism is on the rise in many countries. Scholars have stated that it is characteristic for political populism to describe society as a fundamental struggle between an allegedly virtuous people and political elites which are portrayed negatively. This anti-elitist sentiment does not only target politicians, however, but also other representatives of the alleged establishment - including scientists and scholarly institutions. But the specifics of such science-related populism have not been conceptualized yet. We aim to do so, integrating scholarship on political populism, the ‘participatory turn’, and alternative epistemologies. We propose to conceptualize science-related populism as a set of ideas which suggests that there is a morally charged antagonism between an (allegedly) virtuous ordinary people and an (allegedly) unvirtuous academic elite, and that this antagonism is due to the elite illegitimately claiming and the people legitimately demanding both science-related decision-making sovereignty as well as truth-speaking sovereignty.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Populism, Science, Attitudes towards science, Epistemology, Theory
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:26 Jun 2020 09:07
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 15:10
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0963-6625
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662520924259

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