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Lessons from the bio-decade: a social scientific perspective

Gaskell, George (2008) Lessons from the bio-decade: a social scientific perspective. In: David, Kenneth and Thompson, Paul B., (eds.) What Can Nanotechnology Learn From Biotechnology? Food Science and Technology. Elsevier (Firm), Massachusetts, USA, pp. 237-259. ISBN 9780123739902

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Identification Number: 10.1016/B978-012373990-2.00012-1


This chapter discusses the shift in the views about the nexus of science and society and its implications for the development of nanotechnologies. With the advent of nuclear power, computers, and most recently modern biotechnology or the life sciences, the three strategic technologies of the post World War II decades, a cleavage between science, technology, and society opened up. Increasingly, sections of the European public questioned whether the good life, as defined by science and technology, is actually what they, the public, aspire to. This cleavage turned into open conflict in Europe over genetically modified crops and food; a controversy that became emblematic of the questioning of scientific expertise and of the established procedures of risk governance. The public supports innovation when it is compatible with social values, and would be prepared to accept risks in the context of real benefits. Given the opportunity to deliberate on such innovations, the public voice can be expected to be measured and moderate. The challenge is to ensure that society is well represented in the development of science and technology and equally that science is well represented in society.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Elsevier Inc.
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2016 14:34
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:16

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