Article ID: CBB650192444

Diversifying the Deliberative Turn: Toward an Agonistic RRI (2023)


In its “deliberative turn,” the field of science and technology studies (STS) has strongly advocated opening up decision-making processes around science and technology to more perspectives and knowledges. While the theory of democracy underpinning this is rarely explicitly addressed, the language and ideas used are often drawn from deliberative democracy. Using the case of synthetic biology and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), this paper looks at challenges of public engagement and finds parallels in long-standing critiques of deliberative democracy. The paper suggests that STS scholars explore other theories of decision-making and explores what an RRI grounded in agonistic pluralism might entail. An agonistic RRI could develop empirical research around questions of power relations in contemporary science and technology, seek to facilitate the formation of political publics around relevant issues, and frame different actors’ stances as adversarial positions on a political field rather than “equally valid” perspectives.

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Authors & Contributors
Thomas Scheffer
Alexander Bogner
Tommaso Bruni
Phillip H. Roth
Marco Deseriis
Balmer, Andrew
Social Studies of Science
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society
Spontaneous Generations
Science Communication
Science as Culture
University of Chicago Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Science and technology studies (STS)
Synthetic biology; bioengineering
Responsible research and innovation
Politics and government
Latour, Bruno
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
European Union
United Kingdom
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
European Commission

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