Opening up or closing down? Analysis, participation and power in the social appraisal of technology.

Abstract

Drawing mainly on experience in the science policy and risk regulation fields in Northern settings, this chapter offers a brief survey of a few key issues. First, it reviews three distinct perspectives on the role of participation in social appraisal and examines the contrasting attitudes to power that are embodied in each. This is then taken as a basis for exploring the extent to which both participatory and analytic approaches raise similar issues of framing and justification. The argument is developed that there exists a crucial general feature in the design and conduct of social appraisal that is equally relevant to participatory and analytic approaches, but which is neglected by both. This concerns whether the aim of social appraisal is to 'open up' or 'close down' wider policy discourses. The discussion closes by querying the implications of this distinction for globalizing processes of governance in the social choice of technology.

Owing to copyright restrictions, only the first 3 pages are attached, together with a link to the book at Zed Books.

Citation

Stirling, A. Opening up or closing down? Analysis, participation and power in the social appraisal of technology. In: Science and Citizens: Globalization and the challenge of Engagement. M. Leach, I. Scoones & B. Wynne (eds). Zed Books, London, UK (2005) ISBN 9781842775516 (paperback)

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