Towards the public sphere: reflections on the development of participatory technology assessment

Joss, Simon (2002) Towards the public sphere: reflections on the development of participatory technology assessment. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 22 (3). pp. 220-231. ISSN 0270-4676

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With the development and increasing use of diverse public involvement methods over the past decade, formal technology assessment has shifted from a largely closed, intrainstitutional tool of policy analysis and advice to a tool for the social assessment of scientific-technological issues at the interface between politics and public discourse. Through citizens’ conferences, scenario workshops, and consensus conferences, technology assessment has effectively been opened up to the public sphere: Citizens and interest group representatives are drawn into the process of assessing scientific and technological issues alongside experts, the process often takes place in public, and its outcomes are made widely available for information and debate. This article analyzes the public involvement agenda in technology assessment from the conceptual perspective of the "public sphere." It discusses key features of public sphere–oriented technology assessment, including public access, actor involvement, and deliberation. And it considers the implications of the public sphere dimension for future developments in participatory technology assessment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online ISSN 1552-4183
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2009 11:00

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