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What Do You Expect? Linguistic Reflections on Empathy in Science Communication

Janich, Nina (2020):
What Do You Expect? Linguistic Reflections on Empathy in Science Communication.
In: Media and Communication, 8 (1), p. 107. Cogitatio, ISSN 2183-2439,
DOI: 10.25534/tuprints-00011588,

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Item Type: Article
Origin: Secondary publication via sponsored Golden Open Access
Title: What Do You Expect? Linguistic Reflections on Empathy in Science Communication
Language: English

This linguistics article, which draws additionally on interdisciplinary insights, discusses whether and to what extent more empathy could facilitate and promote the exchange of knowledge between science and society. The existence of the Internet as a knowledge resource has made it necessary, especially in online communication, to renegotiate (scientific) expertise and roles such as ‘expert’ and ‘layperson.’ A discourse linguistics case study of a science blog shows that these negotiations quickly take on the character of an emotionally charged relationship between writer and respondent and are by no means limited to the level of fact or disinterested scholarly debate. The reason for this—so this article argues—is that reciprocal expectations and expectations of expectations play an essential role in science communication, as in any social communication. This hypothesis is supported by an analysis of interviews with scientists about their expectations of the public’s understanding of science. Against this background, empathy seems to be a suitable means to better meet the expectations of one’s interlocuter (or at least to avoid disappointed expectations) and to move from a more emotional level back to a more rational one. Empathy and its role in science communication should therefore be investigated more closely—on an interdisciplinary basis.

Journal or Publication Title: Media and Communication
Volume of the journal: 8
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Cogitatio
Classification DDC: 400 Sprache > 400 Sprache, Linguistik
400 Sprache > 430 Deutsch
Divisions: 02 Department of History and Social Science > Institut für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2020 10:30
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 10:30
DOI: 10.25534/tuprints-00011588
URL / URN: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i1.2481
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-115888
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/11588
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