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Scientific conferences, socialization, and the Covid-19 pandemic: A conceptual and empirical enquiry

Collins, Harry ORCID:, Leonard-Clarke, Willow and Mason-Wilkes, Will 2023. Scientific conferences, socialization, and the Covid-19 pandemic: A conceptual and empirical enquiry. Social Studies of Science 53 (3) , pp. 379-401. 10.1177/03063127221138521

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Since the 1970s social analysts have seen communication between scientists not solely as information exchange (the algorithmical model), but as a process of socialization into overlapping and mutually embedded scientific domains (the enculturational model). Under the algorithmical model, the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown on travel would be easily remedied by replacing face-to-face communication with online platforms. Conferences and similar gatherings are costly, elitist, and environmentally damaging, but under the enculturational model abandoning them could be disastrous for science, which depends on the development of cross-national trust and mutual agreements through face-to-face interaction and, in turn, disastrous for science’s role in democracy. We explore the problem theoretically and empirically, arguing against recent proposals from some scientists for the wholesale and permanent replacement of conferences with remote communication.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0306-3127
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 12 January 2023
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 20:27

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