On the Local Constitution of Global Futures: Science and Democratic Engagement in a Decentred World

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Resumé

This essay focuses on the relationship between public engagement with science and larger discussions of globalized and decentred democracy. In particular, it asks whether public engagement on very specific issues and in the form of carefully-planned exercises should be seen as a distraction (or irrelevance) with regard to the democratic process or else as an enhancement and invigoration of it. It will be argued that we cannot tackle these issues of engagement and democracy without considering the wider challenges of governing what are very often globalized, socio-culturally complex and generally-wicked problems. There is a tendency for engagement initiatives to operate at the regional or national levels. But what happens when the issues are presented as crossing borders and
boundaries, and when the traditional centres of power seem sidelined by the expressed requirement for ‘global’ governance? Going further, issues of science and technology governance often involve a special concern with the future or, more specifically, the multiple futures suggested by science, technology and innovation and their relationship to our sense of the present. I will suggest that the heterogeneous practices of scientific governance represent both a challenge when it comes to issues such as climate change and global food security but also an important focus for STS scholarship. Finally, and in the spirit of more grounded conclusions, I suggest six ‘red blooded’ principles for public engagement which can at least get us started in addressing these issues.
This essay focuses on the relationship between public engagement with science and larger discussions of globalized and decentred democracy. In particular, it asks whether public engagement on very specific issues and in the form of carefully-planned exercises should be seen as a distraction (or irrelevance) with regard to the democratic process or else as an enhancement and invigoration of it. It will be argued that we cannot tackle these issues of engagement and democracy without considering the wider challenges of governing what are very often globalized, socio-culturally complex and generally-wicked problems. There is a tendency for engagement initiatives to operate at the regional or national levels. But what happens when the issues are presented as crossing borders and
boundaries, and when the traditional centres of power seem sidelined by the expressed requirement for ‘global’ governance? Going further, issues of science and technology governance often involve a special concern with the future or, more specifically, the multiple futures suggested by science, technology and innovation and their relationship to our sense of the present. I will suggest that the heterogeneous practices of scientific governance represent both a challenge when it comes to issues such as climate change and global food security but also an important focus for STS scholarship. Finally, and in the spirit of more grounded conclusions, I suggest six ‘red blooded’ principles for public engagement which can at least get us started in addressing these issues.
SprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Science and Technology
Vol/bind3
Udgave nummer2
Sider24-32
StatusUdgivet - 2015

Emneord

  • Public engagement
  • Governance
  • Democratic participation

Citer dette

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On the Local Constitution of Global Futures : Science and Democratic Engagement in a Decentred World. / Irwin, Alan.

I: Nordic Journal of Science and Technology, Bind 3, Nr. 2, 2015, s. 24-32.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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