Scientific-Citizen Public and the Regional Press
Significant historical processes that shaped public engagement with science in Kerala in the twentieth century are the focus of this chapter. The constitution of the political public primarily as a newspaper reading public was crucial in the shaping of public engagement with science in Kerala. An ideological shift within the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), the renowned people’s science movement, in the late 1970s initiated a scientific-citizen public that critically engaged with science from a Nehruvian–Bernalist perspective of social relations of science. The scientific public sphere was largely impacted by a shift of the site of public engagement with science from the KSSP to the regional press in the late 1990s when the newspapers started reporting the manifestation of risks in the everyday life of the citizens. The chapter argues that this has radically altered the way science was understood in the region, initiating risk controversies staged in the regional press.
Keywords: citizen science, civic epistemology, development and science, Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), newspaper revolution, people’s science movement (PSM), political culture, reader-public, Silent Valley struggle, state and science
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