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Biotechnology and Public Engagement in Europe by J. Hansen

By J. Hansen

Providing a comparability an important circumstances of public engagement with biotechnology in Europe lately, this book provides a theoretically mirrored and empirically grounded study of the opportunities and hindrances for a radical democratization of technological improvement via tactics of public engagement.

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Prospective precaution, on the other hand, takes place ex ante from hypotheses about what possibly could go wrong, but where no experiences provide reliable data for assessments because the effect to prevent has not (yet) occurred. ). This raises significant cognitive challenges, as potential damage must be assessed. However, it also poses normative challenges about how potential effects 22 Biotechnology and Public Engagement in Europe should be evaluated, as they may fall outside the existing experience of societal institutions and perhaps sometimes challenge the very categories through which normative evaluation takes place.

Are generally not sufficient grounds to halt innovation. If innovations really are at odds with social and cultural values, it is assumed they will not survive in the market. g. human cloning). Yet, this remains the exception. As the general rule, innovations do not require justification through consensually agreed desirability or needs prior to being released into society (Saretzki 2000: 43). However, the liberal principle rests on an assumption that both gains and losses befall the persons and groups taking the risks affiliated with innovative activities.

The concepts of post-normal science and Mode 2 knowledge production, suggest largely similar implications for the use and practice of science and expertise in policy, namely that they must be opened up to the public. Both concepts have provided stimulating inputs to the discussions on the changing relationship between ‘science and society’, but they also suffer from some of the same weaknesses. In a sense they embody their own diagnoses of a blurring between facts and values, as they seem to waver between claiming to describe processes and mechanisms already in operation and prescribing how institutional practices ought to be changed to better accommodate demands for extended peer reviews and socially robust knowledge production – without becoming more specific about the kind of institutional framework that might actually implement the ideals in practice.

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