Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

3. The contribution of media studies to the understanding of science communication

Hans-Jürgen Bucher

Abstract

The concept of “medialization” has become a key concept for analyzing the interdependent relations between science, media and the public sphere. The intention of this article is a critical investigation of this concept from a perspective of media studies in order to distinguish its different meanings, thus making the concept applicable for empirical research. The investigation is conducted in two steps: In a first step four main theoretical approaches of medialization are discussed. In a second step the article focuses on three processes which have constituted the medialization of science communication in part since the beginning of its history. These processes are visualization, popularization and digitalization. Each of them has transformed science communication in a specific way and on a special level: Visualization enriches science communication with new visual modes of discourse; popularization extends the scope of the target audience by addressing persons with a wide range of pre-knowledges and attitudes towards science; digitalization adds a new sphere of communication for disseminating scientific knowledge and allows to transform monological one-to-many communication into dialogical many-to-many interaction. Analyzing these three processes can help to gain a deeper insight into the medialization of science communication as all exhibit the double-structure of medialization: they stand for an extension of media-based science communication as well as for repercussions of these innovations to science itself.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston