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Guiding science and technology: Democratic governance of science in late modernity

Posted on:2001-04-19Degree:M.AType:Thesis
University:Simon Fraser University (Canada)Candidate:Jones, Mavis FrancineFull Text:PDF
GTID:2469390014959616Subject:Public administration
In conditions of late modernity, the erstwhile faith held by members of the public in both their governments and the technical experts who advise them has been replaced by an ambivalence regarding the accountability of these institutions in regulating science and technology development. This has resulted in a crisis of science and technology governance, as ambivalent relations are systemically maintained among those directly involved in the policy process---technical experts, policy bodies, and the citizenry. In many nations, this problem has been recognized at the government level where a variety of initiatives have been implemented to provide a more open, accountable, and transparent process. However, the governance process is complicated when it concerns highly technical and controversial areas such as biotechnology since both the participatory competence of the lay public and the motives of experts influenced by a highly lucrative industry are under debate. It is the task of this thesis to explore these tensions in science and technology governance and consider options for their amelioration.;This thesis addresses the question: How can the relevant bodies best work together to form an effective and accountable system for regulating science and technology? To answer this question, I first examine the reasons for the existing ambivalent relations and then explore the lessons to be learned from the history of participatory mechanisms in science and technology regulation. The role of participatory mechanisms is addressed as a means of restoring and maintaining public trust in institutions of authority. Specifically, this work explores the potential for establishing flexible, yet fully accountable, participatory structures to achieve sustainably democratic governance over the directions taken by science and technology.
Keywords/Search Tags:Science and technology, Governance, Participatory
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