"Opening up" and "closing down" power, participation, and pluralism in the social appraisal of technology

Stirling, Andrew (2008) "Opening up" and "closing down" power, participation, and pluralism in the social appraisal of technology. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 33 (2). pp. 262-294. ISSN 0162-2439

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Abstract

Discursive deference in the governance of science and technology is rebalancing from expert analysis toward participatory deliberation. Linear, scientistic conceptions of innovation are giving ground to more plural, socially situated understandings. Yet, growing recognition of social agency in technology choice is countered by persistently deterministic notions of technological progress. This article addresses this increasingly stark disjuncture. Distinguishing between appraisal and commitment in technology choice, it highlights contrasting implications of normative, instrumental, and substantive imperatives in appraisal. Focusing on the role of power, it identifies key commonalities transcending the analysis/participation dichotomy. Each is equally susceptible to instrumental framing for variously weak and strong forms of justification. To address the disjuncture, it is concluded that greater appreciation is requiredin both analytic and participatory appraisalto facilitating the opening up (rather than the closing down) of governance commitments on science and technology.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Andrew Stirling
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:11
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2012 11:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30114
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