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 21: How can governance change research content? Linking science policy studies to the sociology of science

Jochen Gläser


Although science studies routinely assume that governance can change research content, we know little about how it does that. This gap in our knowledge is due to a division of labour between science policy studies investigating governance processes and the sociology of science focusing on the construction of scientific knowledge. This chapter bridges the gap by asking how – by what mechanisms and with what effects – research content can be intentionally influenced, and which means of changing research content are available to which actors. I argue that the many governance instruments developed and utilised by actors interested in changing research content have to employ a combination of very few mechanisms for exercising influence. A systematic consideration of these mechanisms and ways in which researchers can respond to their resulting decision situations makes it possible to understand how, and under which circumstances, governance can change research content.

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