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 16: Processing issues in science policy: emerging epistemic regimes

Stefan Böschen


Since the notion of knowledge society has entered the scene, science policy issues have been undergoing a continuous and, at present, fundamental change. That is why the borderland between science and society is being rearranged, with modes of scientific knowledge production diffusing into society and science policy getting more diverse, complex, and far-reaching in its impact on science. I suggest interpreting these “borderland settings” as epistemic regimes. An epistemic regime can be defined as a discursively constructed and institutionally stabilized space of practices for articulating, debating, and solving societal problems, thereby constituting epistemic quality standards and legitimate ways of performing epistemic authority. Thereby, science policy can be seen as both supporting, offering, and selecting knowledge offers and a politics of stabilizing epistemic boundary conditions of societal problem solving while tailoring epistemic quality and securing epistemic authority. Epistemic regimes can be differentiated regarding their order (first versus second order).

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