chapter  20
20 Pages

Worldviews and Perceptions of Stem Cell Research across Europe


Few areas of science make it to the forefront of media and public perceptions and, once there, fi nd themselves the object of sustained attention. At most times in most societies, science tends to merit only episodic attention and a fuzzy or generic positive appreciation, more latent than explicit, which is only brought to light by surveys designed to capture public attitudes to science. Against this background of long periods of silence or inattentiveness and a kind of mute approval on the part of society, there emerges from time to time a science or technology area with a high level of salience and the potential for controversy. The picture on those infrequent occasions is one in which general attitudes toward science with a clearly positive sign, or valence, commingle with critical perceptions (ranging from reservations to active opposition by way of ambivalence) toward new scientifi c or technological developments.