The Future of Tertiary Chemical Education –
A Bildung Focus?
Kathrine Krageskov Eriksen*
Abstract: In this study the concept of Bildung
as an aim for tertiary chemical education is discussed, particularly seen
in the light of the challenges of society as they can be identified in
Ulrich Beck’s perspective on the emerging society as a ‘risk society’.
The importance of reflectivity as part of contemporary Bildung is
highlighted, and the role of ethics in this reflectivity is specifically
Keywords: ethics, tertiary chemical education, Bildung,
risk society, reflectivity.
In this study I will contribute to the topic of ‘Ethics and Chemistry’
by considering tertiary chemical education in a social perspective and
the role of ethics within this context. More specifically, I will consider
the concept of Bildung as a useful tool for
structuring discussions on tertiary education within the chemical/scientific
sphere, and I will argue that reflectivity must be included in a contemporary
Hence not only the relationship between ethics and chemistry, but also
the role of university chemical education in contemporary society and the
concept need to be discussed. I will therefore begin by considering the
demands the worlds of today and tomorrow put on the chemical graduates
and the implications this might have for the development of university
education. I then go on to introduce my interpretation of a contemporary
concept, hereby presenting reflectivity as a crucial component of an adequate
Bildung of chemists. Finally, I will discuss the
concept sketched as a possible answer to the demands drawn up in the first
section – and in doing this I will be considering the exact nature of the
reflectivity, including the role of ethics, needed to make
a valid answer to these demands.
2. Universities of Today and Tomorrow
To discuss tertiary chemical education in an ethics perspective, we first
need to consider the role of this education in society. What is the purpose
of it? The Danish university law states that institutions
of higher education have as their dual purpose to do research and to offer
higher education, both meeting the highest scientific standards. An example
of a contemporary interpretation of this object clause can be found in
the official plan for the development of the University of Copenhagen for
the years 2000-2003:
The University graduates shall through their studies achieve the highest
possible professional and personal competence, so that the graduates can
enter into society with qualifications meeting the demands of this society
and contributing to the further development of this latter. [University
of Copenhagen 2000, p. 5; my translation]
Currently, the University of Copenhagen thus seems to define its identity
as closely linked to the need of society for highly educated members. Other
perspectives on, and thereby aims for, higher education can of course be
expressed. When explicated, this would include the interest of the academic
community in recruiting new members, the students’ interest in self-fulfillment,
and the need of the labor market for skilled employees
(Simonsen & Ulriksen 1998).
I choose, however, in my discussion of universities of today and tomorrow
to focus on the angle of society. The use of this perspective will bring
forward a discussion of the role of chemistry and chemists in present society
which, from my point of view, is absolutely imperative when the topic of
chemical education and ethics is on the agenda. Consequently, the questions
are: What are the demands that society puts on chemical graduates? And
how can the chemical graduates contribute to society’s further development?
To answer these questions we first have to clarify what this society looks
like, particularly what the societal role for chemistry (and science in
Designations for the society emerging (the post-modern, the post industrial,
the knowledge, or the communication society are examples) are abundant.
As a consequence of this we may also identify a diversity of opinions on
which factors are more important in the development of this society as
we are leaving modernity, an era where scientific and technological progress
changed the lives of human beings forever. Chemistry and chemically derived
technologies have been key actors in the processes marking this era. For
example, chemicals created by humans are now used to treat diseases and
fight pests that previously destroyed crops and caused famine and death.
To illustrate this, the chlorinated hydrocarbon dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane
(DDT) was first synthesized in 1940 and proved to be an extremely effective
insecticide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 25 million
lives have been saved due to the use of DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons
in, for one instance, the fight against the malaria-carrying mosquito (Sherman
and Sherman 1992, p. 416). Furthermore, the use of DDT for agricultural
purposes resulted in considerably increased yields in the 1950s.
However, as time passed the initial optimism surrounding the potential
of DDT faded. The use of DDT and the accumulation of the chemical in the
food chain were linked to the decline of various bird and fish populations,
strains of insects resistant to the chemical began to evolve and, since
some of the natural predators of these pests had been killed off by DDT,
the resistant strains prospered (ibid.). Recent theories link DDT
and other chemicals with hormone-like effects to the declining fertility
in the population. Even though today the use of DDT in agriculture is banned
in most countries, many developing countries still use the insecticide
both for agricultural purposes and (legally) in the fight against diseases.
Paired with the long half-life of the chemical in nature this means that
relatively high concentrations of DDT can still be found in living organisms
all over the world.
The DDT case is an exemplary illustration of the development that is
central to the German sociologist Ulrich Beck’s (1997a) characterization
of the emerging society as a ‘risk society’. Beck’s analysis captures aspects
of contemporary society particularly important when the social roles of
technology, science in general, and chemistry in particular are discussed.
For the purpose of this study, I therefore choose Beck’s societal analysis
as a description of imminent challenges to society.
The notion ‘risk society’ refers to "a stage of radicalized modernity"
(Beck 1997b, p. 20), where it is the success of modernity, e.g.
of the scientific and technological development constituting its hallmark,
that produces a new social order. The unintended consequences of modernity,
the manufactured uncertainties or risks, not the external risks
stemming from nature (such as floods or plagues), become central to the
development and the focus of our attention. In the DDT case, the unintended
consequences of the (apparent) scientific victory over malaria – the death
of fishes and birds, the accumulation of a toxic chemical in the food chain
and the possible effects on humans – have become a social issue calling
for political action. As Giddens, who also uses the concept of risk as
part of his analysis of society, points out, the label ‘risk society’ does
not mean that our age is more dangerous or risky than the world of previous
generations; however, the balance has changed so that the risks manufactured
by ourselves have become dominant over the external risks or dangers, at
least in the rich western societies (Giddens 1999, p. 34).
Chemistry, science in general, and technology are closely linked to
the manufacturing of these risks; the risks are the products of the success
of science and technology, the unforeseen consequences in one area of society
of the (scientific) success in another area. This does not mean that science
alone is to blame. It does mean, however, that the processes of modernity
will not inevitably bring the solutions to all our problems. Technological
improvements will not produce complete answers. As solutions are found,
problems penetrating other areas of society are generated.
Beck (1994) distinguishes between two phases of risk society. First,
a stage in which the self-threats are produced (e.g. DDT is produced
and released into the environment without attention to the possible side-effects).
And second, a stage when the realization that these self-threats exist
begin to dominate the social debates (e.g. the realization that
DDT is toxic, that it has already accumulated in the environment, and that
political action must be taken). Hence, the transition of society into
a risk society is an autonomous, undesired development – a social reflex.
It is the radicalization of modernity – modernity at its extreme, not something
beyond or post modernity – "which breaks up the premises and contours of
industrial society and opens paths to another modernity" (Beck 1994, p.
3). Beck therefore refers to this transition as ‘reflexivity’, and
he introduces the notion ‘reflexive modernization’ to describe a
society in which the self-confrontation with the self-threats or manufactured
risks have become dominant: "[S]ociety becomes reflexive, that is, becomes
both an issue and a problem for itself" (Beck 1997b, p. 11). The focus
has shifted "from what nature can do to us to what we have done to nature"
(Beck 1997b, p. 10). From the danger of catching malaria to the consequences
of the scientific fight against malaria.
Despite the apparent hopelessness, Beck does not see society as he characterizes
it as heading for a dystopia where our attempts to solve the problems we
are facing will inevitably mean that we destroy the world as we know it.
Rather, he sees risk society as "a new model for understanding our times,
in a not unhopeful spirit" (Beck 1997b, p. 20). The realization that society
has changed can open up for new solutions to the problems of the world.
Because "nineteenth-century, scientific models of hazard assessment and
industrial notions of hazard and safety" (Beck 1997b, p. 17) simply cannot
capture the risks of today, we must redefine the way in which we handle
these risks. And it is exactly this realization, linked to the second stage
of risk society, which may enable us to deal with the challenges of reflexive
In the risk society, the recognition of the unpredictability of the
threats provoked by techno-industrial development necessitates self-reflection
on the foundations of social cohesion and the examination of prevailing
conventions and foundations of ‘rationality’. [Beck 1994, p. 8]
Beck’s analysis tells us that we need to reconsider the established ways
of dealing with the world; we need to open up previously depoliticized
areas of decision-making for public reflection and debate. This means that
the institutions of science and technology, including research agendas
and plans for development of new technologies, must be politicized (Beck
1997b, p. 21).
To further investigate the consequences of this demand we need to consider
the meaning of the term ‘politicization’. Based on the analyses by Arendt
(1958), Castoriadis (1995), and Habermas (1999), Straume (2001) describes
a society as being political when open, free, and investigative public
discussions about the aim and organization of the society are going on
– and when the debating public is actually in control of the society. Politicization
thus means that the purposes, laws, norms, institutions, and, not least,
the institutionalizing practices of society are open for reflection. To
summarize, "a society can be said to be political to the degree that it
is reflective" (Straume 2001). The term ‘reflective’
is here used to designate both a reflection and the action for change of
the practices, i.e. an active transformation. Below, I will refer
to this process as ‘reflectivity’. Consequently, Beck’s call for
a politicization of all decision-making arenas to meet the challenges of
reflexive modernization can also be expressed as a call for (increased)
reflectivity linked to the decision-making processes in these forums, including
science and technology. In other words, to deal with reflexive modernization,
we need reflectivity!
Beck offers a concrete interpretation of the constitution of such a
reflective society. He characterizes it as a technical democracy, that
is, a responsible society that debates the consequences of a certain development,
technological, before implementing it (Beck 1997b, p. 21). Beck suggests
as a concrete place for this reflection "forms and forums of consensus-building
co-operation among industry, politics, science and the populace" (Beck,
1994, p. 29). A rudimentary form of such forums can be found already in
ethics committees, where the paths of scientific research are being debated:
Should we or should we not accept the cloning of human embryos, to take
a topic currently being discussed in many countries. The important attribute
of the forums is the diversity of opinions and interests, since a single
focus on the world, e.g. scientific, will – to use a concept from
Sandra Harding (2000) – create "distinct patterns of systematic knowledge
and its ever-present companion, systematic ignorance". The idea is that
the various groups represented should supplement each other. It is exactly
this meeting between the different ways of seeing the world that, in Beck’s
opinion, is central. Only by negotiating several aspects of the paths we
are choosing can we ensure that the development in the future will be more
environmentally and socially robust.
Even if one does not fully accept Beck’s idea of negotiation forums,
many challenges call for public reflectivity. Scientists, including chemists,
who are open to other viewpoints, not know-all experts, are needed in this
public debate. Hence – to return to the role of university education in
relation to the needs of society – we find a demand for educational institutions
recognizing this call for reflectivity in the education offered to their
students, the scientists of tomorrow. To prepare the analysis of the consequences
for chemical education that might be drawn from this demand, I will in
the following part introduce the pedagogical concept of Bildung.
This concept can, so I believe, act as an important guideline in the discussion
of what the practical implications would be for chemical university education
if the demands for increased reflectivity were met.
However, before opening this discussion, I will present a brief historical
introduction to the Bildung concept as well as my proposal for a
contemporary interpretation of this concept in a university chemistry context.
3. A Contemporary Bildung Ideal
Words for the same concept can be found as ‘Bildung’ in German, ‘bildning’
in Swedish, or ‘dannelse’ in Danish and Norwegian. When directly translated,
the term refers to the formation or shaping of an individual (into ‘an
educated person’). Bildung as a pedagogical concept implies that
students must develop personally somehow – mature – through their education,
not just learn some specific vocational skills. However, over time various
ideals – i.e. the ideal according to which the student should be
formed – have been expressed (e.g. Madsen et al. 1993).
The concept of Bildung is rooted in medieval Germany where it
implied the formation of a person in the image of God (Abrahamsson et
al. 1988). In the 18th century the
German bourgeoisie adopted the concept now formed to strengthen the bourgeois
identity; as a gebildet (or, educated) person you could, even without
a noble birth, still be valuable (ibid.). Probably inspired by this
German Bildung ‘trend’, around 1800 the term obtained a footing
in Scandinavia as an educational concept. At that time it contained ideas
about a classical education and the shaping of the individual, to which
studies of traditional disciplines like Latin and Greek were thought to
be conducive (Laursen 1994). In recent years the concept in a modern version
has regained a place in the Scandinavian educational discourse (Schnack
1994), and it has now come to imply the shaping of the individual into
a responsible democratic citizen. Also, in a science education context,
has entered the stage (Sjøberg 1998) and ideas somewhat similar
to Sjøberg’s modern Bildung concept are underlying contemporary
science education trends like STS (science-technology-society) education,
science taught as a liberal art, and education for scientific literacy.
Different approaches to a contemporary use of the Bildung concept
can be identified in the educational debate, and one of the most influential
interpreters of a modern Bildung ideal has been the German pedagogue
Wolfgang Klafki (Troelsen 2000). As a starting point for my development
of a contemporary Bildung concept, I will, however, take the study
"Socialization and Technocracy" by the Norwegian philosopher Jon Hellesnes
(1976), which I find introduces a distinction still useful when Bildung
is on the agenda. In this study Hellesnes analyses the socialization
taking place within the educational system in a technocratic society. In
doing this, he introduces two main forms of socialization, Bildung
and ‘adaptation’ (ibid., p. 18). Hellesnes defines ‘adaptation’
as the unreflective socialization into a system without realizing that
‘the rules’ can be discussed and changed. Contrasting this, he then defines
‘Bildung’ also as socialization into a system, but as an open or reflective
socialization where this system and its premises are uncovered and discussed.
With a Bildung perspective guiding the educational planning, students
capable of critically considering the premises of the system, ‘the rules
of the game’ – not just skilled players – will be the intent. Bildung
thus becomes more of a perspective on education than a product (Schnack
Hellesnes’ analysis is rooted in the 1970’s and it carries with it an
overlying ideal typical of that time of overthrow of the capitalist order.
Without subscribing to this ideal, I will adopt the adaptation/’Bildung’
distinction from Hellesnes. Although the conditions for socialization in
society are not black and white so that the adaptation/Bildung dichotomy
may be clearly identified in real life socialization processes (Kryger
1994), the conceptual pair can, so I hope to illustrate below, work as
a powerful tool in the analysis of educational questions and thus also
in the discussion of future tertiary chemical education.
I suggest that a modern ideal for the formation of university chemistry
students must be related to the role of their work within society; hence
‘the formation to a responsible citizen’ can be said to express the Bildung
ideal I refer to. Further, my interpretation of a contemporary Bildung
concept applies Hellesnes’ dichotomy as a point of departure. To make the
concept operative in the concrete context of tertiary chemistry education,
it needs further elaboration, however. Socialization processes are dependent
on several factors including both the concrete content of education (chemistry)
and the way in which the teaching and the educational institutions are
organized (Illeris 1999, pp. 91-112). Thus, it is essential to consider
(at least) both of these aspects of tertiary chemistry education. Bearing
in mind Hellesnes’ definition of ‘Bildung’ as reflective sozialization,
I therefore suggest reflectivity in relation to both the content and the
organization of the teaching as the focal point for an adequate modern
To illustrate the meaning of this reflectivity I will again consider
the DDT case, this time in a teaching context. Teaching university chemistry
students about halogenated organic compounds usually involves an introduction
to the spatial structure of the compounds, ways of synthesizing the compounds
and concrete examples of compounds from the group, DDT being one example.
I will refer to this type of knowledge as ‘ontological’
chemical knowledge and under this heading include chemistry per se, knowledge
about chemical compounds, concepts, and laws.
However, as the DDT case indicates, there are further aspects to chemical
knowledge. First, in the teaching of halogenated compounds the historical
background to the synthesis of these compounds or perhaps a discussion
of the synthesis and testing procedures linked to the development of new
chemical compounds could be included. All these aspects are linked to another
sphere of the subject of chemistry which I will refer to as the ‘epistemological
sphere’ or the understanding of chemistry as an activity (including theories
about the nature of chemical knowledge and the ways in which to arrive
at this knowledge) and as a scientific community producing knowledge. Second,
as clearly illustrated in the DDT case, the subject of chemistry also consists
of a third sphere, which could be referred to as the social or ‘ethical
sphere’ and which contains knowledge of chemistry in a social context including
the questions of how chemistry is part of society and which (ethical) considerations
should be made in this regard. In the case of halogenated hydrocarbons,
a discussion of the use of DDT as an insecticide and the consequences now
being linked to this use could be a way to include this third sphere of
the subject of chemistry in the actual teaching.
The explicit incorporation of all three spheres of chemical knowledge
into tertiary chemical education could help ensure reflectivity at the
subject content level – the constant reflection on this content knowledge:
What is chemical knowledge? How is it produced? Is it true? How is it used?
What are the benefits and dangers connected to this use? Do we as chemists
have a responsibility for this use? Etc. Traditionally, much chemistry
teaching at the university level has primarily been linked to the ontological
knowledge sphere of chemistry, carrying with it a tendency to treat the
subject of chemistry as a collection of factual information that should
be learned as well as possible. Hellesnes in his
study warns us that such a perspective on teaching can by a seemingly objective
and efficient presentation of factual knowledge put the subject matter
above discussion. The purely factual approach to problems will reduce them
to something external to real life (Hellesnes 1976, p. 209). The consequence
is that the students "are socialized into an attitude towards factual knowledge
and expertise as morally and politically neutral" (Hellesnes 1976, p. 206)
– they become adapted. On the other hand, if a Bildung focus as
the one outlined here is adopted as a perspective on education, the awareness
of all three spheres of chemical knowledge must be raised to explicate
and open the ‘rules of the chemistry game’ for reflection and debate.
This opening also includes reflectivity at the level of organization
of the teaching and the educational institutions. Reflectivity concerning
the subject matter has to be mirrored in the organization of the teaching.
It will not take place if all communication between educators and students
take the form of one-way lecturing in large lecture theatres. Universities,
other institutions of higher education, and the chemical (scientific) community
as such can in many ways be regarded as social institutions or societies
(Ziman 2000b, p. 4). Drawing on the definition of politicization introduced
above and bearing the conditions of Bildung in mind, the possibility
for Bildung of chemistry students and chemists in general can now
be said to be closely linked to the degree of politicization of these societies.
This includes the possibility for students to actively engage in discussions
about the activities (teaching, research, etc.) stemming from the
society. Without ongoing reflectivity chemists cannot be gebildet
– only adapted to the existing norms. Included in the Bildung ideal
advanced here is thus that we must work for a politicization of the chemical
and scientific community and the institutions which educate the future
members of this society.
To summarize, my interpretation of a contemporary Bildung for
tertiary chemical education highlights the importance of reflectivity at
two levels; related to both the form and the content of education, and
it has as its underlying ideal the vision that chemists should be able
to act as social actors also outside a narrow academic context. I therefore
see Bildung more as a perspective on both education and the chemical/scientific
practice which can ensure the awareness of and guide the socialization
processes that will inevitably occur, rather than an actual goal which
can be reached and measured.
But can that perspective be usefully applied to tertiary science education
to meet the demands described in the first section? In the next section,
I will try to answer this question. In so doing, I will consider more explicitly
– in the concrete teaching context – the exact nature of the reflectivity
that I have highlighted as the main component of my concept of Bildung,
including the role of ethics.
4. Bildung as the Answer – What Kind of Reflectivity?
If we reconsider Beck’s vision of an adequate answer to the challenges
of reflexive modernity, the key word is reflectivity. Reflectivity is needed
in the decision-making processes, including the areas of science and technology.
Similarly, the focal point for the interpretation of a modern Bildung
ideal for tertiary chemical education that I offered above is reflectivity
– concerning both the subject matter and the ‘educational room’. But how
can reflectivity as a guideline for the educational planning become part
of the answer to a realization of Beck’s vision for a reflective society?
The answer is of course closely connected to the way in which the concept
of reflectivity is operationalized in the concrete teaching practice. To
prepare future chemists for societal reflectivity, reflectivity in the
teaching has to include a social angle. As previously highlighted this
includes the integration into the teaching of the epistemological and,
in particular, the ethical spheres of chemical knowledge. However, a further
investigation of this ethical sphere is needed – what exactly does it imply?
Often ‘ethics’ in a chemistry teaching context is interpreted as ‘good
scientific conduct’. To illustrate, the ethics training required by the
American National Institute of Health (NIH) as part of their training grants
is defined as instruction in the responsible conduct of research; instruction
in the following areas is stressed: conflict of interest, authorship, misconduct,
the use of animal and human research subjects, as well as data management.
In contrast to this I previously interpreted the ethical sphere of the
subject of chemistry as the understanding of the role of chemical knowledge
and the products of this knowledge within society. It is my claim that
the former interpretation of ethics in the university chemistry teaching
setting is not only inadequate, it can – if the aim is to raise the reflectivity
in the sense used here – be decidedly inexpedient. If, in the teaching,
the external dimension of scientific ethics – dealing with science in connection
to the rest of society – is limited to incidents where the external world
is directly used for scientific work, i.e. the treatment of human
or animal subjects, there is a danger that a scientific self-perception
where science is seen as detached from society is conveyed to the students.
Conclusively, in the educational setting an interpretation of ethics as
‘good chemical conduct’ constitutes merely a sort of vocational training
– ‘learning how to do science right’ – instead of a critical approach –
‘what is the right thing to do and why?’ Contained in this latter is a
broadening of the students’ world perspective and the ability to see the
relatedness of various spheres, including the interwoven nature of the
ontological, the epistemological, and the ethical spheres of the subject
of chemistry. In other words, enabling the students to comprehend the complexity
of reflexive modernization. At its extreme the limited, internal perception
of ethics teaching could convey to the students the idea that, when everything
is being performed according to the internal ethical guidelines, i.e.
it constitutes ‘good science’, then the responsibility of the scientist
would be fulfilled. This leaves out the social dimension and as John Ziman
[T]he scientist who takes a job doing research on Napalm on the grounds
that it is ‘good chemistry’ is almost as much a pervert as the medical
researcher who experiments on patients without their informed consent.
Doing ‘good science’ is not synonymous with being a good person. [Ziman
And we can add that this view on science is definitely not the answer to
the call for increased reflectivity in the ‘world’ of science.
Rather, the answer must be a broader socially relevant interpretation
of ethics. I previously suggested seeing the ethical sphere of the subject
of chemistry as knowledge about the relation between chemistry and society.
Hence ethical reflection in the context of chemical education comes to
mean the reflections on the role of chemistry in society and hence on the
values underlying this interplay – and, bearing the ideal of reflectivity
in mind, the action for adjustment of the values to the social challenges
of today and tomorrow. In an ongoing project designed to raise the level
of reflectivity in science teaching in Denmark, we (Hvid et al.
2000) have defined ethical reflection as the reflection on the scientific
values, both the internal values concerning the way scientific work is
carried out and the external values concerning the way science relates
to the rest of society. The tools for reflection
must be found outside of the ‘world’ of natural science and can be for
example historical, psychological, or sociological analyses of the scientific
enterprise. Taking this definition as the starting point, ethical reflection
in chemistry teaching can thus be defined as an ongoing reflection – via
historical, sociological, etc. analyses – on the chemical enterprise
and the values governing this endeavor, including the discussion of the
adequacy of these values. Are they actually eligible for meeting the role
of science in the world of today? And how can we change them?
Hence, ethical reflection comes to involve many aspects of chemistry
besides traditional ethics. And interpreted in this broader way, ethics
as an integrated part of the teaching in chemistry can probably contribute
to a raising of the reflectivity, both in the educational setting, in the
chemical community, and in society as such.
In conclusion, meeting the demands of society highlighted in the initial
statement from the University of Copenhagen can, employing Beck’s analytical
angle on society, be interpreted as an increased awareness of reflectivity
in the university education, thereby preparing the students to engage actively
in the reflective social processes. Further, a Bildung perspective,
as it has been interpreted here, on tertiary chemical education can help
guide the educational planning necessary to meet this demand. And finally,
increased integration of ethics in teaching can – if a broad understanding
of the concept is chosen – be one course to increased reflectivity, both
concerning the subject matter, the chemical community, and the role of
chemistry within society.
 ‘Bildung’ is the German term for a pedagogical
concept known as ‘bildning’ in Swedish and ‘dannelse’ in Danish and Norwegian.
The meaning of the concept, which will be further discussed later, refers
to the personal formation of a person. In the remainder I will, for convenience,
refer to the concept by the German term ‘Bildung’.
 The full text of the University Law can be
found at http://www.uvm.dk.
 See for example Troelsen 2000 and Eriksen
2001 for a discussion of the interests identified by Simonsen & Ulriksen
(1998) and Bildung.
 See the Resume of the TV program about DDT
 I draw on the distinction between two types
of risks; external and manufactured as introduced by Giddens (1999, p.
 If not otherwise indicated, all translations
 The expression ‘socially robust knowledge’
is used by Nowotny et al. (2001) to designate knowledge that has
been debated, i.e. the consequences of a certain development and its implementation
in society has been discussed publicly before action is taken. Nowotny
al. use the Greek term ‘Agora’ as a metaphor for the forum where science
and ‘the public’ meet for this discussion – but the idea shows resemblance
to Beck’s negotiation forums.
 Illeris (1999, p. 17) describes socialization,
learning, development, and qualification as overlapping processes inevitably
linked to any educational activity.
 The three spheres of chemical knowledge introduced
here are inspired by the division of scientific knowledge into three dimensions
in connection with the scientific literacy debate (Sjøberg 1998,
pp. 156-57). The designations for the spheres are borrowed from Östman
 The content of most chemical textbooks
confirms this claim.
 See The NIH guide,
vol. 23, no. 23, June 17, 1994 at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not94-200.html.
 John Ziman (2000a) refers to these values
as epistemic values (internal) and moral values (external).
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[Danish translation of: Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere
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Beck, U.: 1997b, ‘The Politics of Risk Society’, in: J. Franklin (ed.),
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Kalleberg, Gyldendal, Oslo.
Harding, S.: 2000, ‘Difference, Democracy, and Philosophies of Science’,
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Kathrine Krageskov Eriksen:
Center for Science Education Studies, University of Copenhagen,
Universitetsparken 5, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; firstname.lastname@example.org
2002 by HYLE and Kathrine K. Eriksen