Technoscientific Dialogues. Expertise, Democracy and Technological Cultures

Wiebe E. Bijker, Paolo Volontè, Cristina Grasseni


Abstract The role of experts and their competencies in contemporary society

are at the core of current debates in democratising technological cultures and es-

tablishing innovative forms of responsible dialogue within society. This section of-

fers a reworking of the materials presented during the seminar hosted by “Gian-

nino Bassetti” Foundation in Milan on May 3, 2010. The first article is part of the

keynote speech given by Wiebe Bijker, one of the founding scholars of STS in the

European scene. He draws from ethnographic results of his research on the Dutch

Health Council and the risk governance of nanotechnologies. Two comments fol-

low. The first one, by Paolo Volonté, focuses on the relationship between democ-

racy and scientific knowledge, as well as the subtle ambivalence of democratisation

starting from the intrinsic undemocratic character of scientific authority. The se-

cond comment by Cristina Grasseni emphasises the implications of a committed

engagement of citizens in shaping forms of responsible innovation, when taking the

science governance seriously.


Keywords expertise, democracy, technological cultures, responsible innovation,


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