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Public Understanding of Science (10/2014)


Classical Statements: A new feature of Public Understanding of Science :

One of the ideas of this editorial team was to introduce the feature ‘Classical Statement’, to make available contributions to the public’s understanding of science written in languages other than English, never translated and therefore not easily accessible to some readers and researchers of our community. Such papers appear in original citations and have inspired local colleagues. To turn this idea into reality involves several steps. First, we seek to identify candidate papers by asking colleagues and then trace the originals. Second, this material needs to be translated competently into English, and if too long for the Public Understanding of Science (PUS) format, shortened without curtailing the main argument. Third, we want to find somebody competent to comment on the piece, its context of production and its significance of reception. Finally, we needed to get this all moving and into shape with the agreement of the authors or their rights holders. As our readers might appreciate, these steps are no easy task.

Considering all possible complications, I am thrilled to announce the success of our first ‘recov- ery mission’ of a classic statement from the Francophone world. We are able to make available to a wider readership Serge Moscovici’s incisive paper on ‘The New Magical Thinking’ arising from a colloquium in Grenoble in 1991 on ‘Cognition and Social Conduct’. We have gained Nikos Kalampalikis (Lyon) to compose a scholarly commentary. The original piece was more than 20,000 words long, and needed to be judiciously shortened, a task that Nikos accomplished with due dili- gence and care from an initial English translation by Valerie Hartwich. Here, we present the result, and thus the first in our feature series: ‘Classical Statements’ related to the public understanding of science.

I hope this will refuel discussions in PUS about the ‘stickiness’ of forms of mentality, which the Enlightenment and its successors hoped to eradicate, but which to widespread surprise, chagrin, moral outrage or simple wonderment and curiosity stay around in old and new guise.

Martin W. Bauer (Editor-in-Chief)

mise à jour le 6 novembre 2014


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