Browsing by Subject "PUBLICS"

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  • Väliverronen, Esa; Saikkonen, Sampsa (2021)
    The media have become an important arena where struggles over the symbolic legitimacy of expert authority take place and where scientific experts increasingly have to compete for public recognition. The rise of authoritarian and populist leaders in many countries and the growing importance of social media have fueled criticism against scientific institutions and individual researchers. This paper discusses the new hidden forms of suppression and self-censorship regarding scientists' roles as public experts. It is based on two web surveys conducted among Finnish researchers in 2015 and 2017. We focus on answers to the open-ended questions in these surveys, where respondents reflect upon issues of freedom of expression and the feedback they receive in public arenas. Building on previous research on suppression, "research silencing," and the "chilling effect," we discuss the connection between freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry. We make a distinction between four forms of suppression: political and economic control, organizational control, control between rival academics, and control from publics. Moreover, we make explicit and discuss the means, motives, and practices of suppression within each of these four forms.
  • Snell, Karoliina; Tarkkala, Heta (2019)
    According to surveys and opinion polls, citizens in Nordic welfare societies have positive,supportive attitudes towards medical research and biobanking. In Finland, it was expected that this would result in the active biobank participation of patients and citizens. Indeed, public support has been rhetorically utilised as a unique societal factor and advantage in the promotion of Finnish biobanks, underlining the potential Finland offers for the international biomedical enterprise. In this paper, we critically analyse the use of notions such as ‘willing population’ and ‘engaged people’ in the promotion and legitimation of biobanking. First, there is a seeming contradiction between positive attitudes and actual participation rates, as biobanks have faced unexpected challenges in participant recruitment during the first years of their operations. As a result, the concept of a willing population was redirected to problematise the necessity of informed consent. Second, we question whether it is even meaningful to assume the existence of an informed and engaged population with regard to biobanking. Therefore, we suggest that it is problematic to talk about a willing population at the same time as the relevance of the informed consent system is being questioned by biobank actors and policy makers. We analyse this tension in relation to existing data on Finnish people’s attitudes, pointing out that positive, supportive views do not directly transform into high participation rates; nor do they justify the claims of policy makers and biobank proponents that people are willing to participate, when in fact surveys report that people know very little about biobanks.