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Conference

‘Post-truth’ and a crisis of trust?

‘Post-truth’ and a crisis of trust? Perspectives from post-normal science and extended citizen participation.This third PNS Symposium intends to provide a space for discussing the current predicament of declining trust, increasing complexity and uncertainty in the science-society interfaces by deploying a variety of critical framings including, but not limited to, those inspired by post-normal science.

Discussions of recent political events – most notably the presidential election in the United States and the referendum in the United Kingdom to (Br)exit the European Union ‐frequently refer to ideas of ‘post‐truth’, ‘post‐evidence’ or ‘post‐factual’politics. In its ambiguity, the idea of a ‘post‐truth’age manifests a crisis of trust in both democratic and scientific institutions. At the same time, it implies the untenable assumption that politics and policies were once, and should be again, based on a unique truth provided by science (comprising the whole spectrum of natural and social sciences, and humanities). Since the early 1990s, the post‐normal science approach has been applied to issues in the science‐society interfaces characterised by uncertainty and complexity, including a plurality of legitimate perspectives. These cases have been described in terms of uncertain facts, high stakes, disputed values and urgent decisions. In light of this, the conception of science as a privileged ’act‐provider’for governance seems increasingly unsatisfying and problematic.

This third PNS Symposium [PNS1 in Bergen, NO and PNS2 in Ispra, IT] intends to provide a space for discussing the current predicament of declining trust, increasing complexity and uncertainty in the science‐society interfaces by deploying a variety of critical framings including, but not limited to, those inspired by post‐normal science. The purpose is to challenge current ideas of ‘ost‐truth’ as well as reductionist interpretations of facts and evidence, and explore ways for advancing the quality of knowledge inputs to policy‐making. A parallel purpose is to show examples of communities beyond the scientific domain engaging to co‐create usable knowledge, which has been dubbed “extended peer communities”

The meeting topics will be the following:

1) Extended peer communities in action. Experiences and challenges.
2) Trust as a cross‐cutting theme in science and governance.
3) Successes and failures in the deployment of a post‐normal science approach.
4) Hybridization between post‐normal science and other approaches.
5) Theoretical and practical critiques to post‐normal science.
6) Ethics and responsibility in the co‐creation of application‐oriented knowledge.

The symposium welcomes contributions from the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. We encourage applications that put into perspective current challenges to science and democracy, including science controversies and advice, and modes of citizen engagement. To highlight the rich diversity of experiences, we invite contributions addressed but not limited to issues of health, environment, emerging technologies, policy and politics.