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The Politics of Science

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Abstract

Governments, whether democratic or dictatorial, struggle to control technology. Some of their problems, as we have seen, are of their own making; some are a consequence of the activities of other actors. But in concentrating on the formal political mechanisms and the wider economic environment, there is a danger of overlooking a key element in the development and operation of technology. This element, which links the external and internal worlds of technical change, is science. Science policy contributes to the resources upon which technology draws, and the detailed work of science is crucial to shaping technology. We have seen in the previous chapter how political structures and values can play a part in science policy. We now turn to the question of whether the practice of science is subject to similar political processes. Does the politics of technology need to include the politics of science?

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© John Street 1992

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