Economic, Technological, and Socio-epistemological Drivers Behind RRI
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To help explain Responsible Research and Innovation’s recent rise to prominence, I relate four of its defining features – anticipation, stakeholder inclusion, reflexivity, responsiveness – to relevant recent economic, technological and socio-epistemological developments. The economic crisis affected the way anticipation is practiced. The need to justify increased public expenditure brought with it a shift from anticipation as harm-avoidance to anticipation as the attempt to realize the common good. Stakeholder inclusion has received an impetus from the new social media that lend a voice and a face to distant stakeholders, and help foster a sense of mutual interdependence. The growing awareness that many forms of research and innovation fail to deliver on their societal promises has helped to broaden Merton’s ‘organized scepticism’ to include the input of other disciplines and non-experts. Finally, the progressive entanglement of intimate technologies and the lifeworld, has led to new demands that research and innovation extends its responsiveness to impacts on the good life and on the good society. However, all these developments come with pertinent questions and problems that make the success of RRI far from certain.
I want to thank Lotte Asveld for her very helpful comments on an earlier draft.
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