Handbook on Science and Public Policy
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Handbook on Science and Public Policy

Edited by Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler

This Handbook assembles state-of-the-art insights into the co-evolutionary and precarious relations between science and public policy. Beyond this, it also offers a fresh outlook on emerging challenges for science (including technology and innovation) in changing societies, and related policy requirements, as well as the challenges for public policy in view of science-driven economic, societal, and cultural changes. In short, this book deals with science as a policy-triggered project as well as public policy as a science-driven venture.
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Chapter 3: Normative answers - epistemic questions. Updating the science-society contract

Sabine Maasen and Sascha Dickel


Contracts between science and society revolve around the poles of innovation and legitimacy, which are in a reciprocal and mutually reinforcing entanglement. In contemporary society, their tension is addressed through normative concepts that seem to be particularly apt candidates to form the basis for a new social contract: participation, responsivity and sustainability. Recently, however, epistemic questions are returning to the fore: approaches like “Citizen Science” and “Responsible Research and Innovation” do not only pay attention to normative aspects, but also seem to affect the epistemic core of science. Research and innovation increasingly appear as collaborative processes in which a whole range of actors and stakeholder groups ought to contribute to a reliable and responsible science in society. Our chapter is devoted to the problems and ambivalences that continuous updating of the science–society contract poses for science, leading to an increasing external and internal politicization of science.

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