Social Science

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

By Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, Yannick Barthe

Controversies over such matters as nuclear waste, genetically changed organisms, asbestos, tobacco, gene treatment, avian flu, and cellphone towers come up nearly day-by-day as speedy medical and technological advances create uncertainty and convey approximately unexpected matters. The authors of performing in an doubtful global argue that political associations has to be multiplied and more desirable to control those controversies, to rework them into effective conversations, and to lead to "technical democracy." They express how "hybrid forums"--in which specialists, non-experts, traditional voters, and politicians come together--reveal the bounds of conventional delegative democracies, within which judgements are made via quasi-professional politicians and techno-scientific details 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 The department among pros and laypeople, the authors declare, is just superseded.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 could be complemented by means of daily experimentation pursued within the actual international, they usually describe a number of modes of cooperation among the 2. They discover a variety 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 sickness within the uk. The authors speak about the results for political selection making typically and describe a "dialogic" democracy that enriches conventional consultant democracy. To invent new methods for session and illustration, they recommend, is to give a contribution to an never-ending strategy that's worthwhile for the continuing democratization of democracy.

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

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The purity of the Pyrenean sky, the altitude of the Pic du Midi, and the isolation of the site are no longer sufficient advantages. Even here, sheltered from everyone and everything, the observatory is still too attached to the surrounding world. The progress of knowledge forces its seclusion, and the distance it takes from the ordinary world, to be pushed further. At Hawaii, the clouds are less of a nuisance, the air is even purer, and the conditions of observation are even better. But the break between the laboratory and the world obviously reaches its peak when the observatory itself is loaded on a satellite.

That they remain uncertain. Imagine the predicament of E´lectricite´ de France if the danger were to be proven! There are striking similarities between the two cases just set out. In the example of radioactive waste as in that of high-voltage lines, the uncertainties concerning the dangers incurred (whether long-term or short-term) are patent. ’’ In the two cases, the controversies bear at the same time on the characterization of the dangers and on the procedure to be established so as to arrive at what may be considered a credible and legitimate characterization.

In addition, they lead to the identification of constraints that were not taken into account during the development of technological projects. Once identified, these new constraints will reorient research and open up the elaboration of new projects and new solutions. Because they formulate a triple inventory of actors, problems, and solutions, controversies are a highly effective apparatus for the exploration of possible states of the world when these states are unknown, owing to uncertainties.

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