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Exhibiting science in Portugal: Practices and representations in museums

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Abstract:

This article discusses the role played by science museums in the public understanding of science in a semi-peripheral country, Portugal. It is based on the assumption that museums are at the intersection of science and society, being strongly influenced by what happens in the scientific field and in society at large, and that in a globalised world, they are susceptible to both international trends and national specificities. The article describes how in the last decade both the scientific system and the field of science museums have developed in Portugal, whereas visitor numbers and the connection to society have remained weak. The content analysis of a scientific exhibition on nuclear research and technology shows that the deficit mode of envisaging the relation between science and the public still persists.

Keywords: Portugal; nuclear technology; science exhibitions; science museums; scientific controversy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/pjss.9.1.19_1

Affiliations: University of Lisbon Social Sciences Institute (ICS-UL).

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • The Portuguese Journal of Social Science opens a gateway for the international community to engage with a high calibre of academic work in social sciences produced by Portuguese scholarship. Previous to the publication of this journal, this work remained largely inaccessible to an international readership due to issues with language and translation.
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