This chapter presents a complex picture of the movements for responsible innovation (RI) through literature review and interview-based research, providing a historical and sociological perspective on developments within the broad RI field. The recent rise of RI in the literature and in practice is characterized as being, in part, a scientific/intellectual movement (SIM), although the movement’s aims and scope extend well beyond the scientific and intellectual communities and are not restricted merely to the changes in patterns of thought that most SIMs aim to achieve. This factor, together with the difficulties faced in bounding the field, represents a challenge for sociological theorizing about SIMs and the changes occurring in modern research and innovation, leading to findings that are relevant both for the enrichment of the social studies of science and technology as well for those seeking to further advance RI theories and agenda.
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