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Science and Democracy: Making Knowledge and Making Power in the Biosciences and Beyond



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Author: Stephen Hilgartner

Publisher: Routledge

Genres:

Publish Date: September 9, 2015

ISBN-10: 415821347

Pages: 266

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The increasingly central place of science and technology (S&T) in the politics of contemporary societies and economies presents significant challenges to democratic polities and to analysts who seek to understand these politics. In fields ranging from climate change to biotechnology, from new materials to international security, advances in science and technology and the processes through which democratic societies make knowledge, innovate and fashion new technological arrangements raise important societal issues, as well as technical ones. New understandings of the biological foundations of life are entangled in ontological changes – in conceptions of the natural, the human and the political subject – with normative dimensions we are only beginning to fathom. The challenge of analyzing these issues, and especially of how their normative, cognitive and technical dimensions become intertwined, cries out for scholarly attention. Vast numbers of people distributed across the globe are affected by decisions about research, the design and everyday operation of technological systems, and the societal machinery that regulates them. Yet these decision-making processes, so consequential for the lives of individuals and collectivities, are opaque and invisible to most of them. This is perhaps easiest to see in the case of technological disasters: the failure of a single deepwater oil rig, for example, can affect millions of people, not to mention having far-reaching impacts on marine ecosystems. However, the significance of S&T for contemporary democratic politics does not simply rest in what is most visibly at stake. The significance also rests on people’s partial understanding of S&T in combination with the unsettling awareness of their deep dependence on technical experts and gigantically complex sociotechnical systems that have become “too big to fail.” This dependence often leaves people feeling vulnerable to experts, managers, administrators and politicians who may fail to perceive their interests properly or who may, despite reassurances to the contrary, be incapable of protecting them from harm.

Contents
List of illustrations ix
List of contributors xiii
Acknowledgements xvii
1 Introduction 1
STEPHEN HILGARTNER, CLARK A. MILLER AND ROB HAGENDIJK
2 Biology denatured: The public-private lives of lively things 15
DAVID E. WINICKOFF
3 Capturing the imaginary: Vanguards, visions and the synthetic biology revolution 33
STEPHEN HILGARTNER
4 Courting innovation: The constitution(s) of Indian biomedicine 56
KAUSHIK SUNDER RAJAN
5 Co-producing knowledge and political legitimacy: Comparing life form patent controversies in Europe and the United States 74
SHOBITA PARTHASARATHY
6 Dispute settlement and legitimacy of the World Trade Organization: Adjudicating knowledge claims in the Brazil–United States cotton case 94
ARTHUR DAEMMRICH
7 Co-production and democratizing global environmental expertise: The IPCC and adaptation to climate change 113
SILKE BECK AND TIM FORSYTH
8 Governing emerging technologies? The need to think outside the (black) box 133
PIERRE-BENOIT JOLY

9 To bind or not bind? European ethics as soft law 156
MARIACHIARA TALLACCHINI
10 Sociotechnical imaginaries of “the internet,” digital health information and the making of citizen-patients 176
ULRIKE FELT
11 Knowledge and democracy: The epistemics of self-governance 198
CLARK A. MILLER
12 Sense and sensibility: Science, society and politics as co-production 220
ROB HAGENDIJK
Abbreviations 239
Index 241


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