Journalists, advocacy groups and scientists use a variety of media resources to maintain the publics interest ensuring that scientific controversies such as the vaccination debate persist. But how are these controversies formed. To finalise my blog over the next few entries I would like to look at Jurgen Habermas’ framework for analysing the formation of public scientific controversies and more specifically the vaccine controversy. Habermas is a German philosopher who is probably best known for his theory on “communicative reality” and “the public sphere” who believes that scientific controversies such as these primarily occur in pluralist societies. That is, in democratic societies where individuals can legally and ethically hold multiple and competing views and can choose their ethical beliefs, these are the environments were public(external) scientific controversies evolve.
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