Critical but Striving to Be Involved: the Paradoxes of Public Attitudes to Biotechnology in Italy

Massimiliano Bucchi


Using the results coming from two large surveys conducted in 2000 and 2001 on attitudes and opinion to bithechnologies in Italy, the paper focuses on the relationship between media exposure to science communica-tion, level of information and attitudes to biotechnologies. It is suggested that certain commonplace arguments in this area - eg. that public oppo-sition to certain biotechnologies is only due to ignorance - should be re-considered. A strong demand on the part of the public to be involved in de-cisions regarding biotechnologies contributes to delineate a rather com-plex and articulated picture of Italian public opinion and attitudes, which cannot he dismissed as purely antiscientific and hostile.

Key words: Biotechnology - Public attitudes - Media Exposure - Public Understanding of Science

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