Democratization of technology assessment?
The problem of defining the relationship between public sphere and scientific expertise
AbstractTechnology assessment (TA) is becoming more open to democratic public consultation. This poses a complex problem of self-positioning for TA. We argue that in order for TA to be able to carry out this public self-positioning transparently, a democratic theoretical framework is required which allows clarifying the relationship to the public. Such a frame of reference can be formed from the three dimensions of political ability (“politisches Können”), political willing (“politisches Wollen”), and political obligation (“politisches Sollen”). Based on an analysis along three typical forms – the public as addressee of TA knowledge, as source of TA knowledge, and as interaction partner of TA – we demonstrate how this framework can help TA develop a critical and reflexive relationship to the public and thus productively solve the self-positioning problem.
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