Mapping "Social Responsibility" in Science

Maja Horst, Cecilie Glerup

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The paper investigates the discourse on social responsibility in science as it appears in academic journals. Through database searches a collection of more than 300 papers have been analysed in order to map their answers to the following three questions:
- What is the central problem that threatens responsibility in science?
- What are the central aspects of science or its relation to society that need to be regulated or changed?
- What kinds of solutions are imagined and how are these solutions supposed to be put into place?
On this basis the paper explores how different interpretations of the notion of social responsibility of science imply different forms of governance of and within science. The paper employs a Foucaldian discourse analysis to understand how a particular conceptualisation of responsibility implies a political rationality, i.e. a particular form of governance of science. The analysis identifies four different political rationalities. They differ according to
whether they advocate internal or external regulation of science and whether they are focused on regulation of the process or the outcomes of science. They all imply, however, that a particular relationship between science and society is necessary in order for science to be responsible and that scientists need to conduct their science within the structure of this relationship in order for their practice to be legitimate and proper.


WorkshopDevices of Responsibility / Dispositifs de responsabilité
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