CSTPR Seminar: Sam Schramski
A Real Polêmica: An Approach to Scientific Controversy and its Uncertain Reach
by Sam Schramski
Abstract: This talk will present preliminary research on a Center project seeking to analyze cases of scientific controversy. While the project is focused on the United States at present, the expectation is to broaden the scope to a comparative analysis with Brazil, which is only tangentially part of the proposed project at present. The expectation is to better to understand: 1) the drivers of social constructions and public opinion related to contentious areas under scientific inquiry, and 2) the degree to which social constructions, public opinion, science (or scientists), or political factors such as focusing events, play greater or lesser roles in promoting policy change to solve these problems. Through the study of such controversies, we hope to ascertain the social dimensions of scientific issues, and drawing from various social science fields such as political science and public policy, propose to link those social constructions to policy outcomes. The proposed project will analyze U.S. state-level social constructions and policymaking using the cases of 1) climate change and 2) childhood vaccine adoption to provide a multi-jurisdictional comparative research design, but this talk will present some novelty by approaching the cases of climate change and Zika virus in the Brazilian context.
Biography: Dr. Sam Schramski is a visiting postdoctoral scholar from the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, and is based out the Graduate Program in Amazonian Society and Culture. He has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida. Sam has research interests in local and community-level climate change adaptation in the developing world, particularly in the Brazilian Amazon and southern Africa. He spent 2014 working on a field project that included perceptions of climate change amongst riverine populations living in Amazonian flooded forests. Sam is also a freelance journalist, having produced radio stories for NPR and Radio France International, and written blog posts for Brasil Post, Brazil's Huffington Post affiliate. Sam will be affiliated with CSTPR and the Center for Environmental Journalism throughout 2015.