May 15 talk: Beliefs about conventional and alternative medicine: incommensurable worldviews?

Beliefs about conventional and alternative medicine: incommensurable worldviews?

May 15th, 4 pm
Room 2511 Microbial sciences Building
Nick Allum, ISER

A triennial survey of the British public, funded by global charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust, affords a fascinating insight into how citizens think about and engage with medical science and how they reconcile conflicting perspectives. In this talk I give a brief tour of the most interesting top-line findings from the most recent wave of the Wellcome Monitor Survey. I also offer a flavour of some work, carried out jointly with colleagues from the Universities of Southampton and Essex, that explores in more detail the interrelation of knowledge and worldviews in explaining attitudes and beliefs about medicine, both ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’.

Dr Nick Allum is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Research Associate at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Essex. He was awarded his PhD and MSc degrees at the London School of Economics where he was a member of several European collaborations on public attitudes to biotechnology funded under the 4th and 5th Frameworks. He was principle investigator at Essex on an FP7 project, Sensitive Technologies and European Public Ethics. His publications reflect these collaborations and have appeared in journals such as ‘Nature Biotechnology’ and ‘Science.’ His substantive research is focused on public understanding of science, risk perception, public attitudes towards biotechnology. Dr Allum is the General Secretary of the European Survey Research Association. He is a member of the European Commission (DG Research) Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science surveys and a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).