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4. Technoscience in the public sphere

The fourth area of activity concerns the presence of science and technology in the public sphere, with particular attention to the media arena. The role of science and technology in contemporary society, that often takes a controversial character, is expecially  analyzed through text-mining techniques and automatic analysis of the content that monitor the daily press, blogs and social media. The most recent research reject in this area is TIPS – Technoscientific Issues in the Public Sphere.

Specific attention is paid to the following aspects:

4.1 – New Technoscientific frontiers 

4.2 – The science and technology in the media

4.3 – Technoscientific controversies


1. 2015 – GIARDULLO, P. (2015). Does ‘bigger’mean ‘better’? Pitfalls and shortcuts associated with big data for social research, in “Quality & Quantity” 1-19.

2. 2014 – NERESINI, F., e LORENZET, A. Can media monitoring be a proxy for public opinion about technoscientific controversies? The case of the Italian public debate on nuclear power, in “Public Understanding of Science”.

3. 2014 – PELLEGRINI, G., The Governance of Nanotechnology: Engagement and Public Participation, in Arnaldi S. et al. (a cura di), Responsibility in Nanotechnology Development, Springer, Dordrecht.

4. 2013 – LORENZET, A. Il lato controverso della tecnoscienza: nanotecnologie, biotecnologie e grandi opere nella sfera pubblica, Bologna, Il Mulino.

5. 2013 – GIARDULLO, P. LORENZET, La ricerca emergente nei media: nanotecnologie, neuroscienze, biologia sintetica e proteomica. In: (a cura di): Andrea Lorenzet e Federico Neresini, Annuario Scienza e Società 2013. p. 39-54, BOLOGNA:Il Mulino

6. 2012 – NERESINI, F. and PELLEGRINI, G. Assessing the Impact of Science Communication, in Bucchi, M., Trench B. (a cura di), Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology, Routledge, London UK.

7. 2012 – MAGAUDDA, P. Nanotechnologies and emerging cultural spaces for the public communication of science and technologies: an introduction, in “Journal of Communication” 11 (4)

8. 2012 – MAGAUDDA, P. Innovazione Pop. Nanotecnologie, Scienziati e innovazioni nella popular culture, Bologna, Il Mulino.

9. 2012 – LORENZET, A.  Fear of being irrelevant? Science communication and nanotechnology as an ‘internal’controversy,  in “Journal of Communication” 11 (4).

10. 2011 – NERESINI, F. Il nano-mondo che verrà, Bologna, Il Mulino,

11. 2011 – NERESINI, F. e Bucchi, M.  Which Indicators for the New Public Engagement Activities? A Study of European Research Institutions, “Public Understanding of Science”, 20,1, pp.64-79 .

12. 2011 – NERESINI, F. e MAGAUDDA, P. La scienza sullo schermo. La rappresentazione della tecnoscienza nella televisione italiana, Bologna, Il Mulino.


- TIPS – Technoscientific Issues in the Public Sphere (2014 – …)

Head: Federico Neresini

The TIPS project aims to develop, experiment, and implement automatic procedures for collecting, classifying, and analyzing digital contents available on the web – mainly online news and social networks – in order to monitor science and technology topics and their evolution. Therefore, TIPS integrates knowledge, theoretical perspectives and research methodologies referring to different areas within the social sciences, such as Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), Social Studies of Science (STS), content analysis, digital methods, social representations, and ICT. TIPS has a multidisciplinary perspective, hosting thus researchers with diverse backgrounds.

Go to the project TIPS

- Social representations of nanotechnology (2011-2012).

Head: Federico Neresini

The research – ended in 2007 – has now been updated with a comparative analysis. The previous survey of the project was reviewed and expanded thanks to a collaboration with the CIGA Interdepartmental Centre of the University of Padova. A second wave of the survey conducted in 2006 has been carried out and updated, with a questionnaire based on free association and reaction to keywords such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and science.

- Science on the screen (2007-2011).

Head: Federico Neresini

The goal of this project has been to analyze the relationship between science and technology, on the one hand, and television communication on the other – starting from the belief that understanding how science and technology are represented in TV can improve our ability to understand both media communication,  and the presence of techno-science in the social context.  For this purpose two full years of television on the seven Italian  National networks have been recorded, carrying out the analysis and cataloging, with subsequent analyisis of case studies emerging from this huge amount of data.

- Science: How are made the people who make it? (2007-2008).

Officers: Federico Neresini and Chiara Di Benedetto.

In cooperation with the National Institute for Astrophysics, INAF, and with the Laboratory for Planetary teaching of Bologna, Pa.S.T.I.S. is conducting research on how young people imagine a scientist “is done”. The project has been realized thanks to the involvement of teachers and pupils in classes ranging from first grade to eighth grade across the country. The classes involved were 72, selected to achieve the construction of a statistically representative sample. For further information see the website: http://www.scienziati.net.

- Social representations of nanotechnology (2005-2007).

Head: Federico Neresini

The project aims at investigating the public perception of nanotechnology at a particularly interesting moment, since this it is a research field that has not yet attracted the attention of the public and is therefore still  discussed and controversial among experts. The research was developed through 12 focus groups, distributed throughout the country, and a nation-wide survey aimed at reconstructing and analyzing social representations of nanotechnology.