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The ‘credibility paradox’ in China’s science communication: Views from scientific practitioners

Zhang, Joy Yueyue (2015) The ‘credibility paradox’ in China’s science communication: Views from scientific practitioners. Public Understanding of Science, 24 (8). pp. 913-927. ISSN 0963-6625. (doi:10.1177/0963662515598249) (KAR id:50567)


In contrast to increasing debates on China’s rising status as a global scientific power, issues of China’s science communication remain under-explored. Based on 21 in-depth interviews in three cities, this article examines Chinese scientists’ accounts of the entangled web of influence which conditions the process of how scientific knowledge achieves (or fails to achieve) its civic authority. A main finding of this study is a ‘credibility paradox’ as a result of the over-politicisation of science and science communication in China. Respondents report that an absence of visible institutional endorsements renders them more public credibility and better communication outcomes. Thus, instead of exploiting formal channels of science communication, scientists interviewed were more keen to act as ‘informal risk communicators’ in grassroots and private events. Chinese scientists’ perspectives on how to earn public support of their research sheds light on the nature and impact of a ‘civic epistemology’ in an authoritarian state.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0963662515598249
Projects: Governing Accountability in China's Life Sciences
Additional information: Open access details can be found
Uncontrolled keywords: China, civic epistemology, credibility, politicisation of science, science communication
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: [UNSPECIFIED] Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Depositing User: Joy Y Zhang
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2015 15:32 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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