policy making

Slovenian social scientists’ understanding of public knowledge and participation in sustainable development: from deficit to mutual learning

Pika Zaloznik (JCOM)

Public participation in decision-making has in the last decades become a common refrain in political and scientific discourse, yet it does not often truly come to fruition. The present study focuses on the underlying issue, that of the construction of the difference between scientific and public knowledge and its consequences. Through discourse analysis of scientific texts on sustainable development three distinct groups of Slovenian social scientists were discerned that differed in their views on the relationship between scientific and public knowledge and consequently the role and nature of public participation in decision-making processes. With a rise in participatory practices the preponderance of the deficit model found in this study remains problematic.

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Reconstructing the public in old and new governance: A Korean case of nuclear energy policy

Hyomin Kim

Korean nuclear energy regulatory policies started to change from earlier exclusively technocratic policies into open dialogues after several anti-nuclear protests in the 1990s. However, technocratic policies still coexist with the new regulatory orientation towards openness, participation and institutional accountability. This paper analyzes Korean nuclear regulatory policies since approximately 2005 as a blend of old and new governance. The aim of the paper is not to decide whether new nuclear governance is deliberative or not by completely reviewing Korean nuclear policies after the 2000s. Instead, it provides an empirical account of how seemingly more participatory processes in decision-making entail new problems while they work with and reproduce social assumptions of different groups of the public.

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Translating between social worlds of policy and everyday life: The development of a group-based method to support policymaking by exploring behavioural aspects of sustainable consumption

Tom Horlick-Jones, Ana Prades

A large international literature on how lay citizens make sense of various aspects of science and technology has been generated by investigations which utilise small group methods. Within that literature, focus group and other group-based methods have come to co-exist, and to some extent, hybridise, with the use of small groups in citizen engagement initiatives. In this article, we report on how we drew upon these methodological developments in the design and operationalisation of a policymaking support tool (STAVE). This tool has been developed to gain insight, in a relatively speedy and cost-effective way, into practical details of the everyday lived experience of people’s lives, as relating to the sustainability of corresponding practices. An important challenge we faced was how, in Kuhn’s terms, to ‘translate’ between the forms of life corresponding to the world of policymaking and the world of everyday domestic life. We examine conceptual and methodological aspects of how the tool was designed and assembled, and then trialled in the context of active real-world collaborations with policymaking organisations. These trials were implemented in six European countries, where they were used to support work on live policy issues concerned with sustainable consumption.

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The politics of buzzwords at the interface of technoscience, market and society: The case of ‘public engagement in science’

Bernadette Bensaude Vincent

Emerging technologies such as genomics, nanotechnology, and converging technologies are surrounded by a constellation of fashionable stereotyped phrases such as ‘public engagement in science’, ‘responsible innovation’, ‘green technology’, or ‘personalised medicine’. Buzzwords are ubiquitous and used ad libitum by science policy makers, industrial companies in their advertisements, scientists in their research proposals, and journalists. Despite their proliferation in the language of scientific and technological innovation, these buzzwords have attracted little attention among science studies scholars. The purpose of this paper is to try to understand if, and how buzzwords shape the technoscientific landscape. What do they perform? What do they reveal? What do they conceal? Based on a case study of the phrase ‘public engagement in science’, this paper describes buzzwords as linguistic technologies, capable of three major performances: buzzwords generate matters of concern and play an important role in trying to build consensus; they set attractive goals and agendas; they create unstable collectives through noise.

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