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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

Representation and Responsibility in Governing (Emerging) Technologies

Critical Theory
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Anne Loeber
University of Amsterdam
Panel Co-Chair
Lotte Krabbenborg
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Panel Discussant
Ingrid Metzler
University of Vienna

23/08/2018 09:00 - 10:40
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 2 Room: 28
Meaningful deliberation and contestation about novel scientific and technological developments require research and innovation to display a certain ‘publicness’. Developments and associated artifacts need to be ‘readable’ and accessible to actors outside of their immediate circle of designers, sponsors and institutionalized protagonists. To create a public sphere in which to reason about newly emerging technologies (like nanotechnology, synthetic biology, new genetic research et cetera), dedicated efforts are required. For long, academic debate on the issue, as well as policy work, has centered on creating (mini-) publics and opportunities for ‘upstreaming’ public engagement (Wilsdon et al., 2004) to enable “a community of strangers” (Marres, 2005, p.10) to include different voices in the development and uptake of science and technology (e.g. Callon et al., 2009) and to grant them access to the world of researchers and innovators. Of recent, the emphasis is shifting toward inducing a redesigning of research practices themselves, to make these practices reflect a responsibility for opening up towards society, and for being responsive to societal needs and concerns. Put differently, the ambition is to have scientific / technological practices yield products, material artifacts and images that more accurately represent a multitude of perspectives in society. The European Commission and several national governments have developed initiatives to such an end under the heading of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) (Owen et al., 2012; Rip, 2014). The use of the RRI-label as such however offers no blueprint for developing answers to some urgent questions about how to build ground for collective judgment and action on scientific developments that have collective effects as a consequence and that are bound to fundamentally impact our society. Whether with or without reference to the RRI label, these questions engage the normativity implied in the notion of responsibility and its potential conceptual and practical elaborations. This panel invites papers that seek to address, from an empirical and/or a conceptual perspective:
• How research and innovation practices can be redesigned to express responsibility for the interplay between societal developments and scientific developments, and for representing a plurality of perspectives in the artifacts these produce;
• How can the concept of responsibility be redefined and practically elaborated to fit the future-oriented characteristics of research and innovation;
• How can specific actor groups redefine their roles to open up hermetic meanings to enable new modes of collective action, and what they can or should represent in their own work in order to do so?
• How can situated meanings that are of relevance to individuals be matched to processes of meaning making on a higher level of aggregation to enable a judging-together and ‘taking care together’ among the wider community?
• How much and what kind of ‘publicness’ in science and technology do we need in order to meaningfully deliberate and negotiate emerging technologies in the public sphere?
• What can we learn from classical thinkers such as Dewey (1927), Arendt (1958) and Pitkin (1967) with regard to publicness, representation and responsibility for the governance of emerging science and technology?

Paper List

Title Details
(Re)searching and Innovating for the Public View Paper Details
Emerging Technologies and the Challenges of the Public Sphere View Paper Details
Reforging Research and Innovation into Res Publica: Responsibility in and for ‘Representative Thinking’ View Paper Details
Representing and Intervening in the Age of Technoscience View Paper Details
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