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Communicative practices in Swedish amateur astronomy: Knowledge in transit, information technologies and love for the stars

The aim of the this project is to study how the development of various communications practices and of different information technologies continually reshapes the conditions for public engagement in science and simultaneously transform the relationship between experts and lay persons. To elaborate on this theme we will study what might be regarded as an ideal type of the scientifically informed citizen, the amateur scientist. Amateurs are actively engaged and well versed in scientific issues; to some extent they understand the workings of science, and many of them participate in the production of scientific knowledge. Amateur scientists have increased in number during the 20th century, and have become a constituency of the modern knowledge society and an important link between science and the general public.

As an empirical case we will analyze the history of Swedish amateur astronomy from its origins around 1900 until the present. Traditionally amateur astronomy has strong ties to professional astronomy, and is at the same time a highly information dependent, actively knowledge producing and intensively communicative culture. It is therefore well suited for the study of knowledge in circulation, public appropriation of science and the way information technologies are implemented and utilized in these processes.

More about the project

For more information contact:

Johan Kärnfelt, E-mail
Gustav Holmberg, E-mail

Project blog

Read more on the project blog (swedish) http://amatorastronomi.wordpress.com >>

Page Manager: Elin Johansson|Last update: 12/20/2011

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