Cognitive Sociology of Science: Studying social conversations about science

Cognitive Sociology of Science: Studying social conversations about science

InstructorGiuseppe Alessandro Veltri
PeriodSecond semester
Length (h)6

Course Objectives

In this module, we will apply the theoretical and methodological frameworks of cognitive sociology to the study of people’s relationship with science and technology. We will apply concepts such as social representations, frames, motivated reasoning, and other. In other words, we will discuss how laypeople confront new scientific and technological issues and
develop their risk perception of the latter in the context of recent developments in behavioural sciences and social psychology. Moreover, we will introduce the application of digital methods to the study of public opinion online in the context of public understanding
of science because of the increased importance of the digital world as the main source of information and opinion formation in contemporary societies.

Course Content Summary

  • Public understanding of science
  • The digital ecosystem and the information foraging of citizens
  • Social representations about science and technology
  • Digital methods to study science & society in the online

Teaching methods

1 Synchronous lesson

2 Asynchronous lessons


1. Veltri, G.A (2019). Digital Social Research. Cambridge: Polity.

2. Veltri, G. A., & Atanasova, D. (2015). Climate change on Twitter: Content, media ecology and information sharing behaviour. Public Understanding of Science, 26(6), 721–737.

3. Veltri, G. A., & Suerdem, A. K. (2013). Worldviews and discursive construction of GMO-related risk perceptions in Turkey. Public Understanding of Science, 22(2), 137–154.

4. Gaskell, G., T. Ten Eyck, Jackson, J and Veltri, G.A.(2005). “Imagining Nanotechnology: Cultural Support for Innovation in Europe and the United States.”
Public Understanding of Science, 14(1):81-90, 2005. Doi 10.1177/0963662505048949

5. Veltri, G.A., “Social semiotics and social representations” in Gordon Sammut, Eleni Andreouli, George Gaskell, Jaan Valsiner (edited by), The Cambridge Handbook of Social Representations, Cambridget, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015. –
ISBN: 9781107323650. – URL: . – DOI:10.1017/CBO9781107323650