By J. Hansen
Providing a comparability an important cases of public engagement with biotechnology in Europe lately, this book provides a theoretically mirrored and empirically grounded study of the opportunities and stumbling blocks for an intensive democratization of technological improvement via tactics of public engagement.
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Extra info for Biotechnology and Public Engagement in Europe
System uncertainties have to do with the ability to understand, predict and manage a complex reality beyond scientific laboratories, while decision stakes have to do with ‘the various costs, benefits, and value commitments that are involved in the issues through the various stakeholders’ (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993: 744). This framework is used both to classify problems and to differentiate between three different types of policy advice: applied science, expert consultancy and post-normal science.
Here, the focus was on the suspected synergistic effects of trans-genetic organisms released into the environment and consumed by humans. This scientific disagreement gradually polarised along the pro/contra lines and as such contributed to the emerging public concerns. The Anatomy of a Technological Controversy 23 . . (I)n the struggles over biotechnology, scientific expertise of two different kinds was deployed, either denying the possibility of hazards or emphasizing uncertainty and risks. This contributed to the bewildering array of laypeople and politicians who demanded ‘impartial’ expertise from the science, since for most of them it was inconceivable that there was more than one version of ‘objective’ truth.
26 Biotechnology and Public Engagement in Europe During the 1980s both promoters and opponents of the technology had organised themselves in the national policy arenas. However, when regulation was transferred to the EU level, opponents needed more time to re-organise their activities in Brussels than the industry actors, who had considerably more economic resources at their disposal. Therefore, the promoters of biotechnology had more success in influencing European regulation during the first half of the 1990s.