Sascha Dickel, Martina Franzen
April 21, 2016
From the perspective of systems theory, science is a prototype of a self-referential functional system that maintains social distance to the public. In functionally differentiated societies, science maintains a strict regime of inclusion, which is closely tied to the professional role of the scientist as someone who produces and acquires knowledge. We suggest that the digital revolution is generating novel modes of inclusion. These take the form of functionalized subroles in which the professional role of the scientist is disassembled. By proposing a socio-theoretically informed characterization of these new modes of inclusion we aim to meet two different goals: The first is to overcome the theoretical conservatism of differentiation theory, in which diagnoses of the social openness of science are solely interpreted as semantic surface phenomena. The second is to achieve analytical distance to a societal discourse that describes these new modes of inclusion as examples of a successful democratization of science.