Mappare le controversie scientifiche: una cartografia per i cittadini della società della conoscenza?

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Il clima della terra sta cambiando per effetto dell’attività umana? Gli OGM sono effettivamente una risposta ai problemi di cibo su scala mondiale? Ci sono potenziali rischi nello sviluppo delle nanotecnologie? Quali sono gli impianti più efficaci e sicuri per il trattamento dei rifiuti?

Non passa giorno, ormai, senza che il pubblico sia esposto a simili dilemmi attraverso i mezzi di comunicazione. Come è possibile per il cittadino farsi un’idea su temi così complessi ed esprimere poi il proprio voto o la propria indicazione? I tradizionali strumenti a disposizione dell’opinione pubblica – informazione attraverso i media o il dibattito pubblico – sono adeguati di fronte a queste ‘inedite’ sfide poste dalla società della conoscenza?

MACOSPOL (MApping COntroversies on Science for POLitics) è un progetto europeo, guidato dall’Università francese Science-Po e dal sociologo e filosofo Bruno Latour, a cui collaborano sociologi, filosofi, architetti, designers ed esperti web.

L’obiettivo del progetto è quello di definire nuovi strumenti tecnologici capaci di offrire ‘mappe’ delle controversie tecnico-scientifiche, utili a far orientare nelle loro scelte non solamente i cittadini, ma anche i policy makers e i giornalisti chiamati in causa in queste dispute per professione.

Per individuare e sviluppare queste ‘tecnologie democratiche’, MACOSPOL propone di far dialogare un vasto ed eterogeneo insieme di ricerche che sono state condotte in due ambiti principali: quello degli Studi Sociali su Scienza e Tecnologia (STS) e quello dello sviluppo di strumenti interattivi sul World Wide Web.

Gli esperti coinvolti nel progetto stanno studiando, in particolare, le cartografie del Web prodotte attraverso il software Issuecrawler della fondazione Olandese Govcom e il database Risikokartierung che permette all’utente di ‘esplorare’ tutti i diversi aspetti che caratterizzano una controversia tecnico scientifica, dalle argomentazioni presentate dai vari protagonisti, fino alle caratteristiche degli oggetti e dei dispositivi tecnologici coinvolti.

Il risultato finale potrebbe essere una cartografia – o se si preferisce, un ‘Google map’ – che soccorra e assista il cittadino della moderna società della conoscenza nella formazione dei propri orientamenti e che contribuisca a ridefinire la relazione tra expertise e sistemi democratici.

MACOSPOL è un ambizioso progetto tecnologico-democratico, ma come funzionerà concretamente? Per saperlo occorrerà attendere la fine del 2009, quando, sotto la supervisione di Observa –Science in Society (partner italiano del progetto), l’utilità e la funzionalità di MACOSPOL saranno testati in un workshop a Venezia. Un panel di cittadini avrà a disposizione MACOSPOL per farsi un’idea su una questione scientifica controversa, mentre un gruppo di controllo lavorerà con gli strumenti informativi tradizionali (stampa, web, documenti).

Ulteriori informazioni sul sito ufficiale del progetto www.macospol.eu.

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