May 18th, 2020 Update

To the participant,

In our best efforts to adapt to the post-normal times of the covid-19, we are changing our plans for the PNS symposium. The University of Florence would require us to comply with the current physical distancing measures, which make carrying out the symposium as originally planned not viable. We have thus decided to go digital, postpone meeting in person, and create a “Digital journey to PNS 2021 symposium in Florence”. We will keep you updated on the events that will be planned. Unfortunately we won’t be able to accommodate all presentations as originally planned, but we will organize webinars and online panels on selected topics. We hope that you can join us online.

If you have indicated interest in being considered for the special issue , you will be contacted by the guest editors of the special issue about publication.

SC had assessed all abstracts, but given that the plans have changed and that we will not be able to accommodate all presentations in the new online format, we are neither accepting nor rejecting any abstracts at this point. We do not foresee presentations by the participants. We will, instead, contact you regarding publication possibilities, and invite full papers to be submitted once the themes of the special issue(s) have been defined.

The Local Organising Committee & Scientific Committee

We invite you to visit the PNS_5 website regularly for updates or

See previous updates page

General view of the Sala d'Ercole

PNS 5 Symposium
A digital journey to the 2021 PNS Florence Symposium

Knowledge, Science Practices and Integrity: Quality through Post-Normal Science Lenses.

University of Florence (Florence, IT)

As science's inter-penetration with technology, finance, politics and mass-media becomes ever more profound, new challenges arise.  Scientific practices are becoming increasingly diverse — for example, as citizen science, DIY and makers movements gain prominence, and traditional, local and indigenous knowledge are (re)valued.  Plurality in the forms of knowledge increases complexity.  In this context, the protection of integrity and quality of knowledge includes critical thinking about science itself.  New demarcations are needed, between science practices with qualities that are negotiated with society, and practices that are shoddy, entrepreneurial, opportunistic, reckless, vacuous, or outright dirty.  Confronting issues at the science-technology-policy interface with PNS lenses yields something more rigorously managed than politics, less precise than laboratory science, more challenging than either of them, and with the potential to restore integrity to science practice and prudence in policy advice.

Themes of interest

The list is not exhaustive and related themes may be considered.

  1. Quality. How has the conceptualisation of quality evolved in PNS research? Which qualities are needed in the post-normal age? If quality is defined as fitness for purpose, whose purposes are taken into account by science? How can qualities be negotiated and assessed with society?

  2. Demarcation. How is PNS positioning itself in the post-truth & post-facts debate? Can and should the boundary between science and technology be defined? How are the crisis of democracy and the crisis of science interconnected?

  3. Integrity. How can personal and collective integrity be preserved in the political economy of technoscience? Can PNS contribute to restore the integrity of science while fostering reflexivity about values?

  4. Extended peer communities. What are the conceptual developments, practical applications and lessons learned from extended peer communities? Can PNS-inspired work avoid the fallacies of naivety, opportunism and skepticism? Do and should PNS researchers act as “honest brokers”? Is there a role for the ethics of care?

  5. Scientific controversies. What is the role of scientific practices "less precise than laboratory science"? How have the analysis of uncertainty and complexity evolved in PNS?

  6. Post-truth & Uncomfortable knowledge. How to face the challenge of "post-truth"? How to make "uncomfortable knowledge" visible and usable?

  7. Other. Open for suggestions.


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