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'Nothing to do with the science': How an elite sociotechnical imaginary cements policy resistance to public perspectives on science and technology through the machinery of government.

08:00 EDT 11th October 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "'Nothing to do with the science': How an elite sociotechnical imaginary cements policy resistance to public perspectives on science and technology through the machinery of government."

That policymakers adopt technoscientific viewpoints and lack reflexivity is a common criticism of scientific decision-making, particularly in response to moves to democratise science. Drawing on interviews with UK-based national policymakers, I argue that an elite sociotechnical imaginary of 'science to the rescue' shapes how public perspectives are heard and distinguishes what is considered to be legitimate expertise. The machinery of policy-making has become shaped around this imaginary - particularly its focus on science as a problem-solver and on social and ethical issues as 'nothing to do with the science' - and this gives this viewpoint its power, persistence and endurance. With this imaginary at the heart of policy-making machinery, regardless of the perspectives of the policymakers, alternative views of science are either forced to take the form of the elite imaginary in order to be processed, or they simply cannot be accounted for within the policy-making processes. In this way, the elite sociotechnical imaginary (and technoscientific viewpoint) is enacted, but also elicited and perpetuated, without the need for policymakers to engage with or even be aware of the imaginary underpinning their actions.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Social studies of science
ISSN: 1460-3659
Pages: 306312719879768

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