Panel "Responsible Research and Innovation: Legitimizing Emergent Technologies”
Noiz eta non
4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) Annual Meeting, Buenos Aires, 20-23 de agosto de 2014.
Organizers: Hannot Rodríguez, Andoni Eizagirre
Research policies of industrialized governments such as the EU or the US have progressively incorporated a broader set of criteria by which R&D-related practices are designed, implemented and evaluated. Concepts such as "governance" or "responsible research and innovation" (RRI) have been integrated into the narrative of these policies, and are institutionally claimed to represent a new, more socially accountable, way of conducting R&D practices. For instance, the EU claims to integrate RRI in the next R&D Framework Programme, "Horizon 2020", in order to allow "all societal actors (…) to work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of European society" (EC, draft Work Programme "Science with and for society", p. 61). This emphasis on socially responsible R&D can be interpreted to a big extent as an institutional attempt to legitimate the industrial development and application of new and emergent technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, which are considered the cornerstone of economic growth and competitiveness. For instance, the public backlash against agri-food biotechnology in Europe demonstrated that techno-industrial innovations are comdemned to fail if they are not sensitive to the societal concerns about the knowledge, interests, goals and regulations that shape them. This panel invites contributions focusing on the "construction" of legitimation of emerging technologies R&D through approaches such as RRI—including contributions that explicitly deny the driving thesis of the legitimation rationale. The panel aims to understand if RRI or similar responsible policies promote "substantive" transformations in R&D policies and practices or if they entail no more than a set of "superficial"—or, as it could be said, "legitimizing"—adjustments.