Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas

Mediation of Knowledge



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas


Ciências da Comunicação



Teacher in charge

Fernando Cascais

Weekly hours


Teaching language



By the end of the course, it is expected that students
a) Have acquired a knowledge of the epistemological, hermeneutic, sociological and communicational approaches that aim at mediating science and the other spheres pf knowledge and activity;
b) Understand of the fundamental debates and controversies that have been risen by modern science from the standpoint of science communication;
c) Understand of the historical and cognitive problemization of the relationship between natual-scientif knowledge and social-scientific knowledge;
d) Understand the scope and role of communication science in the background of the relationship between the natural sciences and the social and human sciences;
e) Master the theoretical and practical tools of science communication;
f) Develop na ability for critical reasoning through applying the acquired tools and skills to case studies;
g) Have developed an ability in analytical and synthetical reasoning;
h) Have acquired an ability in autonomous learning, according to parameters of motivation to excellence.



Subject matter

1. Doxa versus episteme
1.1 Popularization, broadcasting, public understanding and mediation of science
2. The Public Understanding of Science (PUS) model
2.1 PUS: the notion of science
2.2 PUS: the notion of undestanding; literacy versus iliteracy
2.3 PUS: the notion of public
3. The crisis of the PUS model
3.1 The crisis of the PUS: from the unity to the desunity of the sciences
3.2 The crisis of the PUS: from specialization to coextensiveness between science and communication of science
3.3 The crisis of the PUS: models of Kunth and Véron
3.4 The crisis of the PUS: the boundary work
4. The mediations of science
4.1 Epistemological mediation: scientific revolutions, from Bachelard to Kuhn
4.2. Hermeneutic mediation: The quarrel of method and its overcoming: from Dilthey to Habermas
4.3 Sociological mediation: notions of scientific field by Bourdieu, of laboratory by Latour and of epistemic culture by Knorr-Cetina
4.4 The emergent paradigm according to Boaventura de Sousa Santos


Cascais, António Fernando (2007), “A mediação dos saberes no pós-guerra das ciências”, Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, nº 38 - “Mediação dos Saberes”, pp. 91-109
Cascais, António Fernando (2005), “A ciência e as suas retóricas”, Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens, nº 36 - “Comover e convencer”, pp. 129-142
Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (1999), Um discurso sobre as ciências. Porto: Edições Afrontamento
2005 - “A retórica dos resultados na comunicação da ciência”, Comunicação e Sociedade, nº 6 - “Comunicação Pública da Ciência”, pp. 135-150

Teaching method

Oral presentation (60%), textual analysis and discussion of empirical cases (40%).

Evaluation method

The evaluation procedure consists of two written tests, with a 100% bearing on the final mark. Assiduity doest not count for the final mark. The final exam is alternative to the written test, if its mark is below 80/100; it may exceptionally be replaced by an oral test.