Case Studies of a Blog Portal
Blogs are representing a new environment for sociotechnical communication and creating new conditions for the communication of scientific topics. In contrast to the formal communication systems everybody and every content can - at first glance - take part in the selected cases. In other words: the interplay of technically produced openness of scientific blogs on the one hand and the social underdetermination of scientific blogging practices on the other hand makes it more difficult to recognize (proper) science. Therefore in this new media ecologies the difference between science and non-science becomes more virulent.The lack of useful demarcation criteria between science and non-science in science blogs constitutes the recurrent talking about “real science” and the discrimination of various forms of “bogus science”. Subsequently the scientific blogosphere is infiltrated with debates and controversies about pseudosciences, alternative medicine, esoteric, intelligent design, religion and so on.
What are typical patterns of this scientific boundary work in scienceblogs and what are the main functions of it? Which social groups get together to fight against “bad science” and what are the communicative strategies to marginalize or exclude persons, institutions or topics from the realm of “real science”?
To answer this questions I use reconstructive methods to explore this scientific boundary work in three case studies. Besides the many practical self-reportings or - in contrast - sceptical considerations about science communication reconstructive social research about new forms of science communication is rare. In connection with the case studies the project aims to start theoretical explanations of the boundary work in scienceblogs.
New forms of communicating science increased enourmous in the last ten years in the context of the web 2.0. The classical boundary work approach is one way to analyze new forms of science communication from the perspective of science and technology studies. Despite the fact that science is always accompanied by (historically changing) specific patterns of boundary work the project follows the idea that in some respect the boundary work in scienceblogs is a new phenomenon which grounds in the changing communication ecology based on the digitalization of society in general and of the scientific communication in special.