Modern technoscience is increasingly offering to the public new products (objects, food, and medicines) that are the result of synergies between advanced scientific research and private enterprises. When examining the history of these products we realize that one or more stages of such history are characterized by uncertainty or ignorance about the effects that such new structures or organisms may exert upon the natural environment or the human health, and by conflicts that derive from the consumption of resources and the transformation of socio-ecosystems. The traditional way of teaching science, addressed to help students to learn specific disciplinary notions, and to transmit the idea that science can offer definite answers to problems, does not provide students with conceptual tools useful to cope with the complexity of the processes implied in the production, and does not supply them with competences useful to assess the opportunity and safety of such technoscientific products. Yet, young people and adults – the civil society – should be given the opportunity to intervene, not only in the final phases as consumers, but also during all the preceding steps – from the financing to the experimentations to the decisional processes about implementation – according to the principle that, in a democratic society, all citizens are stakeholders, holders of human and environmental rights, and directly involved in all decisions regarding the fulfilment of primary needs. So, which competences should scientific education promote, in order to allow all citizens – even if they are not ‘experts’ – to express their ideas in debates regarding socio-scientific issues, and to make their choices in full awareness of the complexities and uncertainties of the situations? Through the description of two case studies we illustrate some of the conceptual tools that may help to cope with the questions that the modern technoscience increasingly asks.
|Translated title of the contribution||From tissues with nanoparticles to transgenic salmons. Which competences for educating civil society to sustainability?|
|Title of host publication||VIII Convegno Nazionale del Sociologi dell’Ambiente|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Sep 2011|