AP4: The De- and Restabilisation of Evidence in the Corona Crisis

Prof. Dr. Helena Bilandzic, Prof. Dr. Sascha Dickel, Prof. Dr. Dr. Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Prof. Dr. Susanne Kinnebrock, Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller, Karolin Kornehl, Angelika Laumer, Markus Schug

The project aims to investigate how the production, communication, and social negotiation of scientific evidence about COVID-19 is taking place under the conditions of the corona crisis. The rapid spread of COVID-19 and the associated pressure to act and make decisions increase the need for trustworthy scientific knowledge. However at the same, dissenting experts, the repeated adjustment of figures, statistics and recommendations, and the intensive “mediaization”of divergent opinions and conflict all foster scepticism towards authorized sources of evidence. Against this background, this interdisciplinary project aims to investigate the de- and restabilization of scientific evidence in the corona crisis. We investigate four central arenas where evidence about COVID-19 is being negotiated (scientific research, medical practice, science journalism, and social media); thereby combining the expertise of four research fields (science and technology studies, medical ethics, communication science, and sociology). This allows us to examine the evidence dynamics in these arenas and, most importantly, their interactions in the de- and restabilization of evidence. Furthermore, the integration of the project into the DFG Research Group “Practicing Evidence – Evidencing Practice” allows us to investigate what might be novel about the production, communication, and social negotiation of evidence during the corona crisis, and whether and how continuities with other conflicts about evidence in contemporary knowledge societies can be established.