Prof. Reiner Grundmann

RWTH Kármán-Fellow 04/24-05/24

Prof. Reiner Grundmann is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). His current focus is the relation between knowledge and decision making with a special interest in the role and nature of expertise in contemporary societies. He has also an interest in Social Theory and methodological issues in discourse analysis. Over the past two decades he has been researching the topic of climate change. His latest book, Making Sense of Expertise. Cases from Law, Medicine, Journalism, Covid-19, and Climate Change (Routledge 2023) brings together various of these strands. He is chief editor for the specialty section Climate and Decision Making in Frontiers in Climate and member of the editorial board of the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia Climate Change

Communication Unbound: The Discourse of Artificial Intelligence

My project investigates the discourse on forms of artificial intelligence (AI) based on large language models and the challenge they pose to society. Many commentators frame this development in terms of risks and opportunities. Consequently, we can identify alarming and reassuring narratives within public discourse on AI. This is similar to narratives which we have seen in areas such as nuclear power, genetic engineering, or climate change.

My aim is to carry out a discourse analysis which will look at main stake holders and claims makers and their narratives. I will use full text news archives for this purpose.

AI raises general questions about agency, responsibility, and liability. I will examine to what extent contributions from responsible research and innovation (RRI) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) can illuminate our understanding. I am especially interested in combining insights from narrative analysis with the concept of social imaginaries, focusing on the utopian and dystopian elements of the discourse.

It is to be expected that the discourse has some common traits across countries, but will also show variation. I will use a comparative methodology, analyzing news reports from the USA and Germany.

Publications (selection)

Grundmann, Reiner. 2023. Making Sense of Expertise. New York: Routledge.

Grundmann, Reiner. 2022. Using Large Text News Archives for the Analysis of Climate Change Discourse: Some Methodological Observations. Journal of Risk Research 25(3): 395–406.

Grundmann, Reiner. 2017. The problem of expertise in knowledge societies. Minerva, 55(1), 25–48.

Grundmann, Reiner, Scott, Mike and Ki-Sue Kreischer. 2018. The Discourse of Austerity in the British Press, Zeitschrift für Politik, Special Issue 8: 92-128

Grundmann, Reiner and Mike Scott. 2014. Disputed Climate Science in the Media: Do Countries Matter? Public Understanding of Science 23(2): 220–35.

RWTH Kármán-Fellowships

RWTH Kármán-Fellowships are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
(BMBF) and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine
Westphalia (MKW) under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the