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National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, CSIR, India

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National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, CSIR, India 25 years of Science Communication In India Lessons From Kumbh Mela Studies – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, CSIR, India


1
National Institute of Science Communication and
Information Resources, CSIR, India
  • 25 years of Science
  • Communication In India
  • Lessons
  • From Kumbh Mela Studies
  • Gauhar Raza Surjit Singh

2
the beginnings
  • In India the first efforts to communicate modern
    scientific ideas originating in the west were
    made during the latter half of the nineteenth
    century. A number of science books were
    translated from English into Indian languages

3
the pioneers
  • Small groups in the form of science societies
    mushroomed in various parts of the country
  • Such groups held regular discussions on
    mathematics and science subjects but their sphere
    of activities was confined to the upper class
    and caste intellectuals
  • they did not make any serious efforts to
    transform themselves into a large scale science
    movement

4
mass movements
  • Organised freedom movement, in India started
    taking shape in the last decade of 19th century
  • The freedom movement was the most potent source
    and the carrier of modern ideas.
  • The phrase scientific temper was coined by a
    politician. It was Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru, the
    first Prime Minister of India

5
the realm of ideas
  • Freedom movement while constructing Indian
    identity popularized a few specific notions. Most
    of these ideas did not originate in Indian
    culture
  • World peace and nonviolence
  • Equality of human beings
  • Gender equality
  • Freedom of speech
  • Education for all
  • Jobs for all
  • Science and technology for nation building

6
pioneer scientists..
  • JC Bose, CV Raman, SN Bose, SS Bhatnagar, H
    Bhabha, Birbal Sahani----- argued that when we
    get independence we will require large scientific
    and technical manpower and infrastructure

7
shaping of modern India .
  • Their personal close relations with political
    leadership helped the cause of science and
    science popularization
  • After India achieved independence the ruling
    classes of the emerging capitalist society were
    convinced that a wider acceptance of modern
    scientific ideas is necessary for building an
    industrialized country

8
discourses on ST ..
  • Phrases such as scientific temper broad
    scientific outlook, scientific belief system
    and scientific method echoed repeatedly in
    various forums of debate including political
    speeches

9
institution building
  • Education, agriculture extension centres and
    health system expanded
  • CSIR, IARI, DRDO, Atomic Energy Commission were
    built
  • Popular Science Books, Text books, journals
    (specialised as well as popular), print and
    electronic media was geared up to propagate
    science. Many Museums and Planetariums were built

10
science communication ...
  • But India is a large country with complex
    problems. It is a multicultural, multi-lingual
    society and is a stratified nation. The ruling
    classes did not have any reason to educate every
    citizen
  • Official and private media catered to both the
    emerging scientific consciousness and the
    existing reactionary retrograde thought
    structures

11
science communication ...
  • It is in this context that a few members of the
    Communist Party of India and some social
    reformers who were left of the centre realised
    the importance of communicating science to the
    people in their own mother tongue

12
communicating for class consciousness...
  • They recognised that communicating science to the
    masses could serve two important objectives. One
    that, it could enhance the class consciousness of
    the people and two that it would help the
    'left', to reach newer sections of society,
    specially the younger generations

13
cultural modes for communication...
  • Through experience the leadership of the movement
    had understood that some scientific ideas
    propagate faster through the cultural medium
  • Therefore Street plays and songs became an
    integral part of Peoples Science Movement

14
deconstructing PSM ...
  • By 1983 some among the leadership of PSM started
    asking simple questions
  • What science should be communicated and why?
  • Why some of the scientific ideas propagate faster
    than others?
  • Why some of the ideas can be communicated easily
    through songs, drama and films?
  • Is peoples structure of thinking a clean slate
    on which any thing can be written by scientists
    or communicators of science?

15
question of progress..
  • These questions were not articulated as clearly
    as I have put them in the previous slide, but
    these issues did bother us in some form or the
    other

16
the deficit model....
  • The second half of the 1980s was the period when
    Jon Miller and many other colleagues were trying
    to probe the level of scientific literacy, in the
    western countries
  • By mid 1990s Miller et al. developed categories
    of Scientific Literacy (civic, cultural, etc.)
  • This lead to categorisation of citizens in
    Scientifically literate and Scientifically
    illiterate
  • And finally the trajectory crystallised into what
    is known as Deficit Model

17
development of indigenous models...
  • In India, I was asking a different set of
    questions.
  • In order to measure PAUS, can we use the same
    questionnaire that have been developed in the
    west?
  • Who should we focus on, those who give
    scientifically correct answers or those who give
    wrong answers?
  • Instead of categorising respondents can we
    develop categories of responses?
  • Given the same demographic parameters of
    respondents why do some questions elicit higher
    percentages of correct response while others
    dont. What are the causes of percentage
    variation across various questions?

18
Can we use the same questionnaire?
  • Answer to the first question was No
  • Indicators developed in one cultural setting may
    not be of use in other socio-cultural milieu

19
Who should we focus on?
  • The second question also led to a clear answer
    surely, one can probe why certain sections of
    society achieve a higher level of absorption of
    scientific ideas but one must deeply investigate
    those who have not given correct answers
  • This would help us to devise strategies to
    communicate science to those section who have
    given scientifically wrong answers

20
Can we develop categories of responses?
  • The third question led to four categories of
    responses
  • Scientifically Correct
  • Scientific but Incorrect
  • Extra Scientific
  • Dont Know

21
Why certain questions elicit larger percentage of
correct answers?
  • The fourth question led us to an understanding
    that there are a few parameters, besides
    demographic factors (such as age, gender,
    education, exposure to media, etc), which
    determine the intensity of propagation of
    scientific ideas

22
parametrics of cultural distance...
  • Intrinsic factors
  • Complexity involved in explaining a phenomenon
  • Control Collective or individual
  • Intensity of intervention in quotidian life of a
    citizens
  • Lifecycle of a phenomenon

23
Cultural Model of Analysis
Demographic determinants
Peoples Cultural cognitive Structure
Scientific Knowledge System
Cultural distance
Intrinsic factors
24
relative cultural distance model..
  • The next natural question was Can we determine
    this cultural distance empirically
  • In response to this question a method to measure
    Relative Cultural Distance was developed

25
relative cultural distance model..
  • The Relative Cultural Distance can be defined
    as the distance travelled by a scientific idea,
    information or law on time scale to become an
    integral part of worldview of a common citizen

26
In 1989 we the research team goes to Kumbh Mela,
held at Allahabad, to administer a survey and
collects data for the first time
27
Idi index of democratisation of an idea
Xi cultural distance of a phenomena from
quotidian life of people
28
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29
Average Cultural Distance has reduced over the
years
30
Rotation of earth
Revolution of earth
Cultural distance of various Scientific concepts
from province of Kerala
3.0
Formation of galaxy
6.2
Province 1 Kerala
-0.5
Shape of earth
6.6
Evolution of mankind
7.4
First Quadrant Cultural distance
Fourth Quadrant Cultural distance
31
Cultural distance of various provinces from
Rotundity of Earth
Rajasthan
Uttar Pradesh
Bihar
0.0
-0.9
Haryana
2.4
0.5
Andhra Pradesh
Shape of earth
Maharashtra
-0.5
2.8
Kerala
-0.5
1.8
Assam
-2.0
1.2
Delhi
West Bengal
First Quadrant Cultural distance
Fourth Quadrant Cultural distance
32
Comparative Shift in Cultural Distance
  • ??ci ??cit2 - ??cit1
  • Where,
  • ??ci denotes the shift in cultural distance
  • t2 is the latest point of observation on time
    scale
  • t1 is the earliest point of observation on time
    scale

33
(No Transcript)
34
High Efficacy
Low Efficacy
Window of opportunity
35
Newspaper
Television
Radio
36
  • The Most Important
  • Lesson
  • From Kumbh Mela Studies

37
  • To Create
  • A
  • National Centre
  • Which will conduct research
  • on all aspects
  • of
  • Scientific temper and
  • Public Understanding of Science

38
National Council For Science Technology
Communication, DST, And National Institute of
Science Communication and Information Resources,
have taken a decision to launch this centre
39
Objectives
  • Carry out surveys, create and maintain data bases
  • Carry out international, national and regional
    comparative
  • studies
  • Define and monitor scientific temper /
    rationality in
  • everyday life
  • Construct of indicators of scientific culture

40
Structure of the Centre
Electronic media Monitoring Cell
Interpersonal media/ NGOs Monitoring Cell
Print media Monitoring Cell
Science Education Monitoring Cell
National media monitoring and intervention
laboratory
Macro level Studies
Developed countries
Central Audio Video Facilities
NCST In-charge
Cross Country PAUS research
National PAUS Research
Regional and Micro Studies
Studies on Values, Norms and Attitudes
Developing countries
Indicators, statistical and database laboratory
Indicators Monitoring Cell
Database Services Cell
Statistical Tools Development Cell
PUS information Dissemination Cell
41
  • Thanks
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