Publication Type:


Steve Fuller
Warwick University, Great Britain
Issue number: 
No. 4 (Vol. 46)

This article is concerned with two concepts. The first is a coinage of the author, ‘Protscience’, a contracted form of ‘Protestant science’, made in reference to the 16th—17th century Protestant Reformation, when the members of Western Christendom took their religion into their hands, specifically by reading the Bible for themselves and interpreting its relevance for their lives. Today we witness a similar tendency with regard to the dominant epistemic authority, science, whose ‘reformation’ often portrayed as ‘democratisation’. However, a more exact understanding draws on the article’s second key concept, the distinction drawn in marketing between ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’. The former purchases to sell (i.e. a retailer), whereas the latter purchases to use. Many of the so-called ‘anti-science’ movements of recent times can be explained as a rise in ‘science customisation’, whereby people who have acquainted themselves with the latest science adopt a discretionary attitude towards what they will and will not believe of what they have learned.

anticipatory governance, democracy, New Age, placebo effect, Protestant Reformation, Protscience, science customisation

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