Of Red Threads and Green Dragons: Austrian Sociotechnical Imaginaries About STI Cooperation with China

  • Ruth MüllerEmail author
  • Nina Witjes
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


In this chapter, we address intersections of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and International Relations Theories (IR) by looking at how Austrian science, technology & innovation (STI) policy makers and related stakeholders envision and enact a close relationship between China and Austria in the field of green technologies. Analytically, we draw on the concept of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ as proposed by Jasanoff and Kim, which attempts to grasp how visions of social order and technological development become entangled in the processes of science and technology policy and politics. China is currently arising as one of the key global players in STI. It is intensely courted by numerous countries seeking collaboration and market access. China’s most recent Five-Year-Plan has introduced a focus on environmental sustainability to complement economic growth. Based on interviews, participant observation and document analysis, we show how Austrian STI actors connect their national positioning activities to this recent focus on sustainability. We trace how they attempt to find common ground for relating to the rising and ever so dynamic People’s Republic by drawing on a nationally accepted narrative about Austrian technopolitical history and culture that casts the country as pioneer of environmental awareness and green technologies. We understand and analyze this process as part of a broader Austrian sociotechnical imaginary in the making that constitutes a situated response to an increasingly globalized STI system, while building on and reaffirming central elements of Austria’s local technopolitical culture and history.


Socio-technical imaginaries Techno-political culture Austria China Green technologies Discourse Analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Policy GroupLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Science and Technology Policy Research GroupAustrian Institute for International AffairsViennaAustria

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