An education promoting scientific literacy (SL) that prepares the citizens to a responsible citizenship has persisted as an argument across discussions on curricula design. The ubiquity of science and technology on contemporary societies and the ideological requirement of informed democratic participation led to the identification of relevant categories that drive curriculum reforms towards a humanistic approach of school science. The category ‘Science as culture’ acquires in the current work a major importance: it enlightens the meaning of scientific literacy. Looking closely to the French term, culture scientifique et tecnologique, turns science simultaneously into a cultural object and product that can be both received and worked at different levels and within several approaches by the individuals and the communities. On the other hand, nonformal and informal education spaces gain greater importance. Together with the formal school environment these spaces allow for an enrichment and diversification of learning experiences. Examples of nonformal spaces where animators can develop their work may be science museums or botanical gardens; television and internet can be regarded as informal education spaces. Due to the above mentioned impossibility of setting apart the individual or community-based experiences from Science and Technology (S&T), the work in nonformal and informal spaces sets an additional challenge to the preparation of socio-cultural animators. Socio-scientific issues take, at times, heavily relevance within the communities. Pollution, high tension lines, spreading of diseases, food contamination or natural resources conservation are among the socio-scientific issues that often call upon arguments and emotions. In the context of qualifying programmes on socio-cultural animation (social education and community development) within European Higher Education Area (EHEA) the present study describes the Portuguese framework. The comparison of programmes within Portugal aims to contribute to the discussion on the curriculum design for a socio-cultural animator degree (1st cycle of Bologna process). In particular, this study intends to assess how the formation given complies with enabling animators to work, within multiple scenarios, with communities in situations of socio-scientific relevance. A set of themes, issues and both current and potential fields of action, not described or insufficiently described in literature, is identified and analysed in the perspective of a qualified intervention of animators. One of these examples is thoroughly discussed. Finally, suggestions are made about curriculum reforms in order, if possible, to strongly link the desired qualified intervention with a qualifying formation.
"Cultural Science introduces a new way of thinking about culture. Adopting an evolutionary and systems approach, the authors argue that culture is the population-wide source of newness and innovation; it faces the future, not the past. Its chief characteristic is the formation of groups or 'demes' (organised and productive subpopulation; 'demos'). Demes are the means for creating, distributing and growing knowledge. However, such groups are competitive and knowledge-systems are adversarial. Starting from a rereading of Darwinian evolutionary theory, the book utilises multidisciplinary resources: Raymond Williams's 'culture is ordinary' approach; evolutionary science (e.g. Mark Pagel and Herbert Gintis); semiotics (Yuri Lotman); and economic theory (from Schumpeter to McCloskey). Successive chapters argue that:-Culture and knowledge need to be understood from an externalist ('linked brains') perspective, rather than through the lens of individual behaviour; -Demes are created by culture, especially storytelling, which in turn constitutes both politics and economics; -The clash of systems - including demes - is productive of newness, meaningfulness and successful reproduction of culture; -Contemporary urban culture and citizenship can best be explained by investigating how culture is used, and how newness and innovation emerge from unstable and contested boundaries between different meaning systems;-The evolution of culture is a process of technologically enabled 'demic concentration' of knowledge, across overlapping meaning-systems or semiospheres; a process where the number of demes accessible to any individual has increased at an accelerating rate, resulting in new problems of scale and coordination for cultural science to address. The book argues for interdisciplinary 'consilience', linking evolutionary and complexity theory in the natural sciences, economics and anthropology in the social sciences, and cultural, communication and media studies in the humanities and creative arts. It describes what is needed for a new 'modern synthesis' for the cultural sciences. It combines analytical and historical methods, to provide a framework for a general reconceptualisation of the theory of culture - one that is focused not on its political or customary aspects but rather its evolutionary significance as a generator of newness and innovation. "--