Lecture Examines Social Science and the Post-Truth Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed science – perhaps forever. The pandemic and its aftershocks have shaken the pillars of dispassionate inquiry by forcing us to reconsider how academic findings are reported, disseminated, and shared with the public. How can the scientific process survive all of this?

That will be the animating principle of Trish Greenhalgh‘s Campaign for Social Science Annual SAGE Lecture, “Give me back my fact: How can social science help us survive the post-truth pandemic?” The online event takes place on December 10 at 4-5:30 p.m. GMT/08–9:30 a.m. PST.

To register, click the link below. Registered attendees will receive a link to join ahead of the event.

Greenhalgh’s talk will draw on the social science of science, to produce a 21st-century, post-truth-aware account of what science is.

Scientists will need to be more self-reflective, developing a heightened awareness of our own identities, values, and ethical commitments as researchers working for the public good. Embracing this role means engaging – however painfully – with the media, lobbyists and trolls. Through close readings of the criticism and personal attacks we receive, we can make more sense of the current political climate and identify potential methods for safeguarding empirical knowledge. Greenhalgh will share some personal examples of ‘facts that got away’ to illustrate some core principles of a new social science of the scientific process.

Professor of primary care health sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford, Greenhalgh leads a research program at the interface between the social sciences and medicine. Her work celebrates and retains the traditional and humanistic aspects of medicine and healthcare while embracing the opportunities contemporary science and technology to improve health outcomes and relieve suffering. Addressing COVID-19 specifically, Greenhalgh looks at themes such as clinical assessment of the deteriorating patient by phone and video, the science and anthropology of face coverings, and policy decision-making in conditions of uncertainty.

Greenhalgh was awarded the OBE for Services to Medicine by Her Majesty the Queen in 2001 and made a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. She is also a Fellow of the UK Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of General Practitioners, Faculty of Clinical Informatics and Faculty of Public Health.

The Campaign for Social Science is the advocacy voice of Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences and aims to amplify the voice of social sciences in policy issues affecting all social science disciplines and higher education across the United Kingdom. Its annual lecture is sponsored by SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space.

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Campaign for Social Science

The Campaign for Social Science was launched by the Academy of Social sciences in 2011 to celebrate the success of UK social science, at a time of change and uncertainty in the higher education system. The Campaign seeks to identify to the public what social science is, and make clear the benefits of a social science education.

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