In the first year of undergraduate uni, most of us knew what psychology was, and knew what we were studying. If we didn’t, why would we have signed up to study it? Then the further we got through uni, the less sure we were about what psychology actually was, and what we were studying.
Now, the exact same thing is happening with sci-comm. Does this apply to lots of other subjects? Do geographers or chemists start uni and then discover they have no idea what geography or chemistry is?
The cause of this confusion was spending the last week reading up on “public engagement with science”, as it’s the topic for our first exam. So far, the more I read, the more frustrated I get. Everything seems like an infinite loop of dependent ideas. For one thing, even defining it is hard; “public”, “engagement”, and even “science” don’t have one clear meaning. Another is that public engagement with science is supposed to be a rejection of the “deficit model”- the idea that the public were empty containers, ignorant of science, who would understand science if teachers poured in the facts.