The Values of Science and Democratic Culture

By Fatos Tarifa.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Our understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power has changed fundamentally. If we consider the overwhelming growth of knowledge ― particularly scientific knowledge ― over the past hundred years in addition to the dramatic changes in the social structure that is emerging today as the industrial society is giving way to a knowledge society, we might be inclined to think that the power of knowledge has grown as well. This paper focuses on the relationship between science and democracy. First, we discuss what has become a broadly accepted belief both among the international science and technology community and policymakers that the values of science ― honesty, objectivity, and respect for the inherent merit of a wide range of ideas and opinions ― are essential to a democratic culture and thereby can help support the democratization of society. Second, we contend that core concepts of democratic theory, such as citizenship, deliberation, and accountability, cannot be understood satisfactorily without taking on board the politics of science and technology and without the participation of publics in policymaking. We argue that since democracy depends upon people’s ability to make informed decisions, it is only through public science education and engagement that we can build a wise, just, and democratic society.

Keywords: Science, Democracy, Democratic Culture, Knowledge Society

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.201-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 448.154KB).

Prof. Fatos Tarifa

Professor, and Director, Director of the Institute of Social and Policy Studies at the European University of Tirana, former ambassador of Albania to the Netherlands (1998-2001) and the United States (2001-2005), He as authored, co-authored, and edited 30 books and numerous journal articles, European University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania

PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; PhD in Political Science from the University of Tirana. Teaching and research experience: The Institute of Social Studies at The Hague (1993-1994); The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992; 1995-1998); Campbell University (1996-1998); Webster University (Leiden Campus, NL, 1999-2001); Eastern Michigan University (2006-2008); European University of Tirana (1998 - presently). Author of 30 books and more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles. Ambassador of Albania to the Netherlands (1998-2001) and to the United States (2001-2005). Editor of the journal “Sociological Analysis”. Academic nterests: development, democratic transition and consolidation, etc.