Scientific Communities and Social Inequalities in Latin America: The Chilean Case

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Jorge GIBERT-GALASSI , Socioeconomia, Universidad de Valparaiso, valparaiso, Chile
The presentation summarizes an ongoing research regarding scientific communities in a peripheral emerging country, which includes more than 50 in-depth interviews conducted with leading Chilean scientists and one digital survey results, answered by nearly 350 academic and researchers from three disciplines. The presentation also describes several structures and mechanisms that are related to the market, the government and the university which, in principle, explain what it “means” to be a scientist in an emerging country such as Chile. The analysis of three communities (astronomers, molecular biologists, and sociologists), attempts to uncover the economic, social and cultural reasons for why these function as they do, especially in terms of their different intellectual and social identities. The findings indicate that these structures and mechanisms are very different than before, suggesting that there are new structures and emerging mechanisms - local and global - whose impact is still unknown. The framework of analysis and discussion centers around the idea that there is a utilitarian historical and current relationship between the University and companies, conditioned by the Neoliberal economics revolution, which prevents universities from creating a genuine scientific culture of their own. Finally, the principal sociological variables that come into play in the changes that are occurring in these communities’ current processes are described. These changes include gender, age range, income, values, workplace, and use of financial opportunities to develop scientific research.