Suspicions have been raised as to why the enthusiasm for public deliberation emerge at a time when "globalization seems to render the governance of science and technology more obscure, remote and inaccessible" (Stirling 2005: 218). The focus in this paper is on the ideas around the new scientific governance based on public involvement and deliberation and how such ideas are packaged and travel through certain routes and carriers. The theoretical approach to "the travel of ideas", means a focus on how ideas, as they flow, are also edited, translated and hybridized. There will be certain carriers of ideas, mediating activities and arenas in which discussions take place among experts about the best way of doing things. The empirical starting point for the study of the spread of ‘public deliberation’ as a policy tool in the governance of environmental risk and science and technology is four established methods (citizens’ juries, consensus conferences, scenario workshops and focus group methodology). The selected methods are all designed to generate qualitative deliberation among publics. Thus in this paper the focus is on ideas packaged as generic methods aiming to produce deliberations among citizens. These methods are assumed, by those who use them, to be useful in different ways, for the governance of science and technology. The travel of ideas is an active process and ideas are shaped and translated differently in different settings, depending on the organizations that deploy public participation methods and with what rationale they do so.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The spread of ideas and the travel of public deliberation methods

Linda Soneryd   SCORE

Suspicions have been raised as to why the enthusiasm for public deliberation emerge at a time when "globalization seems to render the governance of science and technology more obscure, remote and inaccessible" (Stirling 2005: 218). The focus in this paper is on the ideas around the new scientific governance based on public involvement and deliberation and how such ideas are packaged and travel through certain routes and carriers. The theoretical approach to "the travel of ideas", means a focus on how ideas, as they flow, are also edited, translated and hybridized. There will be certain carriers of ideas, mediating activities and arenas in which discussions take place among experts about the best way of doing things. The empirical starting point for the study of the spread of ‘public deliberation’ as a policy tool in the governance of environmental risk and science and technology is four established methods (citizens’ juries, consensus conferences, scenario workshops and focus group methodology). The selected methods are all designed to generate qualitative deliberation among publics. Thus in this paper the focus is on ideas packaged as generic methods aiming to produce deliberations among citizens. These methods are assumed, by those who use them, to be useful in different ways, for the governance of science and technology. The travel of ideas is an active process and ideas are shaped and translated differently in different settings, depending on the organizations that deploy public participation methods and with what rationale they do so.

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