I needed a field guide to navigate the ScienceOnline2012 conference in Raleigh while learning a whole new vocabulary.
I’ll be the first to admit that academics are the worst offenders of jargon-talk. We mean something very specific when we talk about literature (not Toni Morrison) and conceptualization (not sex) in social science.
And in the humanities, jargon is laden with goop-speak. Some terms are so abstruse they sound like blarney. It’s “blargon,” when …
… Scholars interrogate the meaning of a text
… A pastiche is hollow
… Media create the hyperreal
… Identity is a postmodern inflection
In blogosphere-speak I learned brand new words, although some translations still elude me. I learned that a vestibule doesn’t refer to Grandma’s home and that a hash tag has nothing to do with my time as a teenager living in The Netherlands.
Once I was able to slog through the molasses of the blargon I came to the conclusion that the core of our concerns is the same in 2012 as in 1912: how do we enfold science into daily discourse, and how can science inform democracy?