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CSEC Work in Progress Seminar: Trusting healthy scepticism

Date: 27 June 2006 Time: 13.00-14.00

Speaker: Tom Roberts (Lancaster University Sociology Department)

Title: Trusting healthy scepticism: rethinking expressions of public mistrust over scientific knowledge

Venue: Furness Lecture Theatre 3

I wish to explore the issue of public distrust as a response to universally applied expert-driven proclamations of public science. I distinguish between two expressions of this public distrust that have hitherto been lumped together and used virtually interchangeably namely: cynicism, and scepticism. In unravelling these terms my hope is to rescue their credibility when expressed by lay publics. I hope to show that, far from being founded on ignorance and misinformation, and instead of being perceived as a hindrance or obstacle that requires either surmounting or correcting, expressions of public cynicism and scepticism in their various hues are better seen as insightful untapped reflexive intellectual resources that are key to understanding deeper sociological processes and concerns.


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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