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    Stigma in science: the case of earthquake prediction

    Joffe, Helene and Rossetto, Tiziana and Bradley, Caroline and O'Connor, Cliodhna (2018) Stigma in science: the case of earthquake prediction. Disasters, 42 (1). pp. 81-100. ISSN 0361-3666

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    This paper explores how earthquake scientists conceptualise earthquake prediction, particularly given the conviction of six earthquake scientists for manslaughter (subsequently overturned) on 22 October 2012 for having given inappropriate advice to the public prior to the L'Aquila earthquake of 6 April 2009. In the first study of its kind, semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 17 earthquake scientists and the transcribed interviews were analysed thematically. The scientists primarily denigrated earthquake prediction, showing strong emotive responses and distancing themselves from earthquake ‘prediction’ in favour of ‘forecasting’. Earthquake prediction was regarded as impossible and harmful. The stigmatisation of the subject is discussed in the light of research on boundary work and stigma in science. The evaluation reveals how mitigation becomes the more favoured endeavour, creating a normative environment that disadvantages those who continue to pursue earthquake prediction research. Recommendations are made for communication with the public on earthquake risk, with a focus on how scientists portray uncertainty.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: boundary work; earthquake prediction; social representations; stigma in science;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 11709
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 11:59
    Journal or Publication Title: Disasters
    Publisher: Wiley
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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