Science Communication as Emotion Work: Negotiating Curiosity and Wonder at a Science Festival
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STS scholarship has long emphasised that science is emotional as well as cognitive and social. A 2014 science festival, Science in the City, held in Copenhagen, provides a case for thick description of emotion within the production and reception of public science communication. For organisers of science communication the overarching aim was to call forth a suite of emotions focused around curiosity and wonder; in contrast, visitor experiences were constituted through the emotions of reading and negotiating science communication. Negative emotions, in particular, were tied to a sense that navigating science communication and producing the ‘right’ emotions can be effortful. Visitors therefore found strategies to resist the behaviours required of them. Consumption of science communication may thus be framed as emotion work, for both producers and consumers: curiosity does not necessarily emerge naturally, while science communication products may themselves require work to negotiate.