Nowotny - Chapter 06 | eBooks | Non-Fiction

Nowotny - Chapter 06

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We live in a world characterized by innovation — by rapid changes in work and personal life; new forms of communication and globalization, and new techniques in informatics, agriculture, and medicine. Much of this novelty we associate with science and with scientific technology; we tend to see science as the major driver of innovation, including social and cultural innovations that may well have different roots. At least in Britain, governments dealing with contentious technical issues such as foot and mouth diseases or genetic engineering now summon expert reports on "science" as a basis for policy. Science thus tends to be reified — as if coming in packages to which nonscientists must accommodate themselves. It comes from "scientists" as from a club that includes physicists but not economists or literary analysts.

In this chapter I suggest that we might benefit from focusing on these formulations and asking whether they are inevitable. I do not suggest that our handling of innovative technologies depends heavily on our understanding of science, but I do think the links are significant, both at the level of discourse and of institutions. So perhaps scholars could contribute to present debates, albeit indirectly, by calling into question the framing of the issues, and especially by historical reflection on the meanings of "science."

We live in a world characterized by innovation — by rapid changes in work and personal life; new forms of communication and globalization, and new techniques in informatics, agriculture, and medicine. Much of this novelty we associate with scienc
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