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Attitudes to Science in 144 countries - re-examining the Wellcome Global Monitor of 2018

Science is universal, but science culture remains local. The cultural authority of science is globally variable. Within this complex of research, a perennial question concerns the relationship of general attitudes as a horizon for specific issues, often controversial at least in some world regions, such as vaccination. The Wellcome Trust’s Global Monitor offers a unique platform to assess this issue on a global scale of 144 countries (n=144,000 interviews, conducted 2018). This symposium will re-examine this data using the PREK model [promise, reserve, engagement and knowledge) of science attitudes with focus on different world regions (Bauer & Suerdem, 2016 and 2019). Knowledge indicators include ‘self-confidence’ and ‘image of science’, engagement indicators are ‘information seeking’ and ‘polyphasia science & religion’; promise is assessed by utility assessments of science, and the key reserve index is ‘vaccination hesitancy’. The five speakers will each assess the complex of these four indicators in a world region and examine the specifics of the culture of science in that world region. Geography is not destiny, so socio-economic indicators will be coming into the frame of analysis. The symposium will be commented on by Petra Pansegrau (Uni Bielefeld) and Rajesh Shukla (Price, Delhi).

Introduction: Cultures of Science and the Wellcome Global Monitor: a conceptual re-analysis  

Martin W Bauer (LSE)

Communicating risk of vaccination in East and Southeast Asia: society, science, and cognitive polyphasia

Luke Yuh-Yuh Li (Taiwan)

Trust in science and religion as indicators of polyphasia across sub Saharan Africa

Bankole Falade (Stellenbosch)

Attitudes to science across South and North America- Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

Carmelo Polino (Oviedo, Spain)

Linking subjective and objective indicators of science culture on the Silk Road: A multilevel analysis

Ahmet Suerdem (Bilgi Istanbul)

Discussants: Petra Pansegrau (Bielefeld, Germany) & Rajesh Shukla (Delhi, India)   

Author: Martin W Bauer
London School of Economics and Politital science, United Kingdom

Communicating risk of vaccination in East and Southeast Asia: society, science, and cognitive polyphasia

Speaker: Luke Yuh-Yuh Li
National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan

In the section, we mainly examine public resistance to vaccination in three parts: 1)of the social structural differences, 2)of cognitive polyphasia, and 3) of the understanding of science. On social structural differences, we focus on attitude difference of vaccination on gender, age, education, income. On cognitive polyphasia, we would like to see whether cognitive polyphasia mentality have any influence on citizens' attitude of vaccination. On the relationship with the understanding of science, we focus on PUS variables (of trust in science, trust in medical professional, knowledge of science, engagement with science, and utilitarian attitude), and their relationship with attitude of vaccination. We assume that the meaning of risk is culturally defined. People all take or not take action to reduce risk. The data includes 13 countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia, which includes the sample population of Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Mongolia with a size of 13,477. Regression analysis is employed for the statistical analysis. We first create a general model with country fixed-effect for pooled data. Then, we also examine our model in individual country data, respectively. We have found more complicated findings from the country level data. In the end of the presentation, we are going to discuss our findings of their special local context meanings.

Trust in science and religion as indicators of polyphasia across sub Saharan Africa

Speaker: Bankole Falade
Stellenbosch, South Africa

Religion is an important variable in science and society studies in sub Saharan Africa and a Nigerian study has shown the public have same levels of trust in scientists and religious leaders but scientific knowledge and religiosity have a direct effect on expectations of progress and feelings of fear about and worry about science (Falade and Bauer, 2018). Studies have also shown that religious leaders have in the past intervened in vaccination programmes leading to revolts in Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya (Feldman-Savelsberg, et al., 2000; Milstien, et al., 1995; UNICEF ESARO, 2003; Falade, 2015). Nigeria is yet to be declared polio free due to a mix of vaccination hesitancy, religious beliefs and logistical challenges. The recently released Wellcome Trust's Global Monitor provides a unique opportunity to compare indicators of trust, knowledge, information seeking and promise as indicated by vaccination hesitancy across African regions: East, West, Southern and Central Africa with a view to mapping cultural differences. Affiliation: Dr Bankole Falade is with the South African Research Chair in Science Communication, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University. The South African Research Chair is the Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant No 93097) ORCID ID https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1985-2273

Attitudes to science across South and North America- Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

Speaker: Carmelo Polino
Centro Redes (Argentina) and University of Oviedo (Spain), Argentina

In this communication we will apply the PREK model (promise, reserve, engagement and knowledge) over the Wellcome Trust's Global Monitor data to study the feelings of people living in Latin America, the United States and Canada in what respect to science and health. Science culture indicators reveal high social and cultural authority of science. Particularly in Latin America, a region weighed down by inequality and structural poverty, society perceives democracy, the political system and institutions critically (Latinobarómetro, 2017; Pew Research Center, 2019). Science builds trust and emerges as a prestigious social institution, and this perception remains constant over time (Castelfranchi, 2019; Polino & Muñoz van den Eynde, 2019). In the United States, confidence in science and scientists has remained high for forty years (relative to other social institutions), although depending on geographical, religiosity or political segmentations (Krause et al, 2019). In the US, partisan divide is strong on climate change, education and risk perception are more relevant in Latin America (Evans and Zechmeister, 2018). The idea of the social responsibility of scientists, the need to regulate research and evaluate technologies socially, is also present. Thus, as in other social areas, cognitive resources tend towards a more critical examination of knowledge and to the de-sacralization of institutions. Criticism can be greater in the most disadvantaged social groups since they are the ones that benefit the least from the results of knowledge and technology. Consequently, the map of perceptions is complex: a "distant public" does not show interest, and manifests reservations to science - and a fraction of "trusted public", that without information or participation activities, has positive views (Polino & Castelfranchi, 2019). Positive attitudes coexist with criticism, and both aspects are necessary for and adequate management of public affairs when misinformation, fake news and sensationalism threats global democracy.

Linking subjective and objective indicators of science culture on the Silk Road: A multilevel analysis

Speaker: Ahmet Suerdem
Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey

Research activities of any society depend on the level in which its members interact with science and cannot be separate from that of a society's cultural activities'. Science translates itself to innovations through consumption, production and policy decisions. Problem-solving manners and capacity of the individuals in a society are embedded in the "cultural repertoire" encompassing the symbols, artefacts and everyday practices. This repertoire is used by the group members to construct "strategies of action" for solving the everyday problems (Swidler, 2001). Hence, scientific activities find their way into everyday life through science culture. The aim of this study is to explore the complex relation between the subjective mentality factors such as attitudes, knowledge, interest and political involvement to science and institutional and economic environmental variables surrounding these factors. Building upon the PREK model [promise, reserve, engagement and knowledge) of science attitudes this study will present how these intrinsic variables are related to science environment factors such as R&D expenditures, number of patent applications, and human development index. Besides these factors, social values reflecting the general cultural environment of the society will also be considered. The Welcome Trust's Global Monitor data will be used for deriving the intrinsic-subjective elements of science culture. The environmental data will be collected from secondary sources such as UNESCO. World Value Surveys and Hofstede culture surveys. Statistical analysis of these data involves multilevel analysis which considers the social contexts as well as the individual respondents or subjects. Multilevel data is analyzed through the hierarchical linear regression model which is a type of regression analysis for where the dependent variable is at the lowest level. Finally, the study will compare how subjective mentality factors are related to external environmental factors with a special emphasis on Silk Road countries.

Commentary

Speaker: Petra Pansegrau
Bielefeld University, Germany

Live commentary will be offered on the papers above together with Dr Rajesh Shukla (Price, New Delhi; rajesh.shukla@ice360.in)

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