Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical by Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, Yannick Barthe

By Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, Yannick Barthe

Controversies over such concerns as nuclear waste, genetically changed organisms, asbestos, tobacco, gene remedy, avian flu, and mobile phone towers come up nearly day-by-day as quick clinical and technological advances create uncertainty and produce approximately unexpected matters. The authors of performing in an doubtful global argue that political associations has to be increased and more desirable to control those controversies, to rework them into efficient conversations, and to lead to "technical democracy." They exhibit how "hybrid forums"--in which specialists, non-experts, traditional voters, and politicians come together--reveal the bounds of conventional delegative democracies, within which judgements are made by means of quasi-professional politicians and techno-scientific info is the area of experts in laboratories. The department among execs and laypeople, the authors declare, is just outdated. The authors argue that laboratory examine can be complemented by means of daily experimentation pursued within the actual international, and so they describe quite a few modes of cooperation among the 2. They discover quite a number concrete examples of hybrid boards that experience handled sociotechnical controversies together with nuclear waste disposal in France, business waste and beginning defects in Japan, a adolescence leukemia cluster in Woburn, Massachusetts, and mad cow affliction within the uk. The authors speak about the results for political selection making often and describe a "dialogic" democracy that enriches conventional consultant democracy. To invent new approaches for session and illustration, they recommend, is to give a contribution to an unending technique that's worthy for the continuing democratization of democracy.

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In such situations the only option is questioning and debate, notably on the investigations to be launched. What do we know? What do we want to know? Hybrid forums help to bring some elements of an answer to these pressing questions. Uncertainty is a useful concept because it prevents us from confusing hybrid forums with situations of risk. It is nevertheless a fuzzy concept covering diverse configurations. Obviously, uncertainties may be more or less radical. There is a vast space between dismal ignorance and an impeccable knowledge of the states of possible worlds.

Except when he goes on holiday—that is, when he moves away from the accursed village. It is also said that the suicide, leukemia, and cancer rates are increasing in the area, following, as if by chance, the track of the high-voltage lines. Faced with what they see as threats, the inhabitants organize, try to make a list of all these cases, and aggregate the multiple isolated facts produced over the whole of the territory in order to give consistency to the hypothesis of the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on health.

For a time, the relative equalization of ‘‘rights to speak,’’ the opportunity for everyone to argue on his or her own account and to question the justifications of others, transforms for a time the usual hierarchies and their underlying conceptions. This mutual discovery obviously affects each actor, whose identity is modified in turn. Becoming aware that one’s sworn enemy is not the person one thought he was facilitates the revision of one’s own positions. The redefinition of identities opens the way to compromises and alliances that would be unthinkable without the existence of controversies.

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