Original Research

Does the engagement between science and society pose risks for intelligent scientific practice?

Hugo Lotriet
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 11, No 2 | a76 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v11i2.76 | © 2015 Hugo Lotriet | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2016 | Published: 01 November 2015

About the author(s)

Hugo Lotriet, Head Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Science Engineering and Technology at the University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa

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This paper examines the interaction between science and society. Society considers these interactions as vital to understand and reduce the uncertainty of the impact of scientific activity on society. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the converse situation – whether the engagement of society with scientific activity creates uncertainty (or perceived risks) in terms of scientific practice, and whether there is potential for this engagement to create tensions in terms of the intelligent nature of scientific practice. In order to achieve this, a cultural-historical, activity-based conceptualisation of intelligence is applied to scientific activity and its implications are discussed in terms of science- society interactions.


Science; society; engagement; activity theory; intelligent scientific practice


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