The COVID-19 mirror: reflecting science-society relationships across 11 countries





Metcalfe, Jenni
Riedlinger, Michelle
Bauer, Martin W.
Chakraborty, Anwesha
Gascoigne, Toss
Guenther, Lars
Joubert, Marina
Kaseje, Margaret
Herrera Lima, Susana
Revuelta, Gema

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SISSA Medialab



Twelve researchers from 11 countries used autoethnographic techniques, keeping diaries over 10 weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, to observe and reflect on changes in the role and cultural authority of science during important stages of viral activity and government action in their respective countries. We followed arguments, discussions and ideas generated by mass and social media about science and scientific expertise, observed patterns and shifts in narratives, and made international comparisons. During regular meetings via video conference, the participating researchers discussed theoretical approaches and our joint methodology for reflecting on our observations. This project is informed by social representations theory, agenda-setting, and frames of meaning associated with the rise and fall of expertise and trust. This paper presents our observations and reflections on the role and authority of science in our countries from March 10 to May 31, 2020. This is the first stage of a longer-term project that aims to identify, analyse and compare changes in science-society relationships over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Palabras clave

Public engagement with science and technology, Representations of science and technology, Risk communication


Metcalfe, J., Riedlinger, M., Bauer, M.W., Chakraborty, A., Gascoigne, T., Guenther, L., Joubert, M., Kaseje, M., Herrera-Lima, S., Revuelta, G., Riise, J. and Schiele, B. (2020). ‘The COVID-19 mirror: reflecting science-society relationships across 11 countries’. JCOM 19 (07), A05.