Staff View
The scientist's dilemma: the ethics of advocacy

Descriptive

TitleInfo
Title
The scientist's dilemma: the ethics of advocacy
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Stroffolino
NamePart (type = given)
Andrew
NamePart (type = date)
1983-
DisplayForm
Andrew Stroffolino
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
author
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Clarke
NamePart (type = given)
Lee
DisplayForm
Lee Clarke
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
chair
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
MacKendrick
NamePart (type = given)
Norah
DisplayForm
Norah MacKendrick
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Rudel
NamePart (type = given)
Thomas
DisplayForm
Thomas Rudel
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Daipha
NamePart (type = given)
Phaedra
DisplayForm
Phaedra Daipha
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
outside member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Jordan
NamePart (type = given)
Rebecca
DisplayForm
Rebecca Jordan
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
outside member
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
School of Graduate Studies
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
school
TypeOfResource
Text
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (encoding = w3cdtf); (keyDate = yes); (qualifier = exact)
2019
DateOther (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2019-10
CopyrightDate (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2019
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO 639-3:2007); (type = text)
English
Abstract (type = abstract)
Scientific information can play a key role in how people manage risk. While much sociological research has explored how non-scientists struggle to acquire policy-relevant information, relatively little research has explored how scientists struggle to provide it. Drawing on the “institutional logics” perspective, I describe scientists’ efforts to positively impact society. My three empirical chapters explore scientists’ discourse regarding morality and risk communication at the levels of institutions, individuals, and organizations.

With respect to institutions, I found that prominent handbooks on the nature of science offer no indication that scientists ought to communicate with the public or any useful advice for overcoming perceptions that scientists who engage in advocacy are biased. Moreover, consensus reports on risk tend not to discuss ethical issues regarding public communication. These findings suggest that scientists lack norms for why and how they should communicate risk to the public.

With respect to individuals, I spoke with academic scientists about appropriate and inappropriate ways of communicating risk. Although respondents spoke of risk communication as a moral responsibility, several factors made it a moral dilemma, particularly for scientists who lacked tenure. Compared to immediate threats like looming hurricanes, scientists were more reluctant to reach out to the media about intangible threats like climate change. Scientists also tended to view more direct forms of public engagement as personally risky. Additionally, respondents discussed structural and material constraints to conducting policy-relevant science within the academy, resulting in a paucity of information to communicate.

With respect to organizations, I examined how science organizations from around the world responded to a manslaughter trial against seven scientists and engineers. The prosecution argued that the defendants had offered poor scientific advice in the days before a deadly earthquake. I argue that the lack of norms for communicating about immediate seismic threats prompted science organizations to rally behind the defendants. Some organizations argued for the scientists’ innocence, while others advocated what I call “scientific immunity,” that is, the notion that scientists cannot be held legally accountable for what they communicate to the public, even when what they communicate is scientifically unfounded.

An overarching finding is that academic scientists experience moral dilemmas regarding the public communication of risk, particularly about hazards that the public does not believe pose an immediate threat. Because these dilemmas are partially rooted in the lack of norms for public communication, academic scientists might benefit from more training in how to communicate with the public. Normalizing risk communication might lead to better risk management strategies that would ultimately improve public health.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Sociology
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Scientists -- Professional ethics
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Science -- Moral and ethical aspects
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
ETD
Identifier
ETD_10177
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
InternetMediaType
text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (xii, 203 pages) : illustrations
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore10001600001
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/t3-zmja-m848
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
Back to the top

Rights

RightsDeclaration (ID = rulibRdec0006)
The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Stroffolino
GivenName
Andrew
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2019-08-22 20:35:26
AssociatedEntity
Name
Andrew Stroffolino
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
AssociatedObject
Type
License
Name
Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
Back to the top

Technical

RULTechMD (ID = TECHNICAL1)
ContentModel
ETD
OperatingSystem (VERSION = 5.1)
windows xp
CreatingApplication
Version
1.5
DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2019-08-22T20:14:05
DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2019-08-22T20:14:05
ApplicationName
Microsoft® Word 2010
Back to the top
Version 8.3.13
Rutgers University Libraries - Copyright ©2021