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Research Project

Mapping controversies in Flanders. Towards a new theoretical framework for the politics of socio-technical innovation.

Running from 2016 to 2019.
Funded by FWO - Flemish Government.

The rationale for this FWO project is rooted in the observation that contemporary society is confronted with persistent controversies over innovative scientific and technological developments such as Genetic Modification (GM) or Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). Apart from polarisation between proponents and adversaries of a particular innovation, such controversies typically exhibit a widening scope of argumentation: besides being an issue of techno-scientific expertise, they also come to the fore as a question of normative, societal preferences. Within this project, this observation is taken as an urge to understand these controversies in socio-technical terms, the central hypothesis being that they can be productively studied as processes of innovation politics. The central objective of this project then consists in developing a suited theoretical framework for articulating and understanding techno-scientific controverses as processes of innovation politics. Tying together the scholarly fields of science and technology studies and that of multi-level and multi-actor governance, this objective will be addressed through an in-depth, interpretive case study on the GM-controversy and on CCS. Employing the notion of socio-technical imaginaries as a central analytic tool, we will thus explore the myriad ways in which visions of technology and social order are embedded in, constitutive of, and produced by the discourse of relevant actors in these controversies.

De centrale doelstelling van dit project is het ontwikkelen van een geschikt theoretisch kader voor het articuleren en begrijpen van controverses als processen van innovatiepolitiek. Hiertoe zullen op het raakvlak van de onderzoeksgebieden van wetenschaps- en technologiestudies en multi-level en multi-actor governance diepgaande, interpretatieve gevalstudies van zowel de controverse over genetische modificatie als het debat inzake CCS worden uitgevoerd.

The politics of the circular economy, Transitions and Future Studies, Science and Technology Studies and Politics


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