Hollywood knowledge: Communication between scientific and entertainment cultures

David A. Kirby

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    There is a longstanding perception among scientists and members of the entertainment industry that they represent two distinct cultures. In this social context, science communication is not merely communication from an expert community to a lay community but is more akin to intercultural communication. This perception has led to the development of a new category of science consultant within Hollywood: 'boundary spanners'. Boundary spanners take on the identity of a scientific expert in the scientific community and that of a filmmaking expert in the entertainment industry. At the same time, their authority within those communities also rests upon their own unique social identity as a boundary spanner. The boundary spanner's process involves the synthesis of information from the culture of science, the translation of that information into the culture of entertainment, and finally the transformation of the information into a finished cultural product. For boundary spanners, success is achieved when the transformed product on the screen bears enough resemblance to scientific authenticity to satisfy both the scientific and the entertainment communities. © 2008 Springer Netherlands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCommunicating Science in Social Contexts: New Models, New Practices|Communicating Sci. in Soc. Contexts: New Models, New Pract.
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • boundary spanner
    • Cinema
    • entertainment industry
    • intercultural communication
    • science consultant
    • scientific expertise


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