Download Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical by Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, Yannick Barthe PDF

By Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, Yannick Barthe

Controversies over such matters as nuclear waste, genetically changed organisms, asbestos, tobacco, gene remedy, avian flu, and cellular phone towers come up virtually day-by-day as fast medical and technological advances create uncertainty and produce approximately unexpected matters. The authors of appearing in an doubtful international argue that political associations needs to be extended and stronger to control those controversies, to remodel them into efficient conversations, and to result in "technical democracy." They express how "hybrid forums"--in which specialists, non-experts, usual voters, and politicians come together--reveal the bounds of conventional delegative democracies, within which judgements are made via quasi-professional politicians and techno-scientific info is the area of experts in laboratories. The department among pros and laypeople, the authors declare, is just superseded. The authors argue that laboratory study can be complemented by way of daily experimentation pursued within the actual international, and so they describe a variety of modes of cooperation among the 2. They discover a number of concrete examples of hybrid boards that experience handled sociotechnical controversies together with nuclear waste disposal in France, business waste and start defects in Japan, a adolescence leukemia cluster in Woburn, Massachusetts, and mad cow ailment within the uk. The authors speak about the results for political choice making regularly and describe a "dialogic" democracy that enriches conventional consultant democracy. To invent new approaches for session and illustration, they recommend, is to give a contribution to an never-ending technique that's worthy for the continued democratization of democracy.

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Additional resources for Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy (Inside Technology)

Example text

The border between the 26 Chapter 1 two spheres has been completely scrambled in the space of two or three decades. As the foregoing example shows, the controversies that unfold in hybrid forums are fostered not only by scientific and technical uncertainties but also by social uncertainties. In discussing the border between what is technical and what is social, the protagonists, whose identities vary over time, introduce an indeterminacy that will not be settled until the end of the controversy.

We will talk of ‘‘plausible potential danger’’ when persons or life environments suffer damage that is perfectly describable but whose causes and precise nature remain unknown. Such situations often lead to the drawing up of inventories. Some actors embark, individually or collectively, on the collection of cases that may confirm the existence of a new threat. The uncertainties surrounding them encourage the informal and sometimes wild development of hypotheses that are not yet verified and are often not immediately verifiable.

This society without consistency has vanished before the disenchanted eyes of nostalgic technocrats. Multiple groups have appeared whose existence no one suspected, defending their interests and projects, and adding their two cents to the so-called technical discussions. There are, of course, many people who contest the solutions envisaged or who demand their modification. But life is not that simple. Security and surveillance services are also summoned and questioned as to their long-term ability to fulfill their mission; there are even the ‘‘future generations’’ about whom everyone is suddenly concerned, in whose name all believe they are authorized to speak, and who are thus invited to all the meetings at which storage, fast breeder reactors, and transmutation are discussed.

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