Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
Chapter 2: The Increasing Involvement of Concerned Groups in R & D Policies: What Lessons for Public Powers?
2. The increasing involvement of concerned groups in R&D policies: what lessons for public powers?* Michel Callon 1 A CHANGING STAGE Institutions created during the second half of the twentieth century to manage and steer scientiﬁc and technical activities have entered into a period of long-term reconﬁguration. As many historians have pointed out, these institutions, founded in the immediate post-war years and strengthened throughout the Cold War (Guston 2000; Mirowski and Sent 2002) were explicitly designed to enforce strict distinctions that could be characterized in a very sketchy way as follows: G G G G G a neat division of roles between scientiﬁc experts (or specialists) and political authorities, with the former producing reliable and ‘consensible’ knowledge (what is possible) on which the latter base their decisions (what is desirable) (Ziman 2000);1 the constitution of an ignorant public, incapable of entering into the abstract formalism of scientiﬁc knowledge (such as concepts of time and space in post-Newtonian physics) and whose support for science and technology requires constant education (popularization); the development of non-proﬁt research strongly structured around public agencies and universities; this sector is specialized in what is known as basic research, that is, long-term and disinterested research that feeds into economic markets and their applied research and development laboratories; heavy investments by public agencies in major technological programmes that are either civil or military – military programmes being considered as an important source of technology for the rest of the economy; and ﬁnally...
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