Limits of decentered governance in science-society policies
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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This article addresses the practices of implementing science policies that involve science-society relations, such as funding policies on ethical, legal, and social aspects (ELSA) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). I examine how R&D actors translate such science governance. In particular, the paper focuses on possible tensions when scientists juggle competing policy demands. The paper draws mainly on interviews with scientists within biotechnology and nanotechnology in Norway. It shows that scientists try to accommodate rather than enact ELSA and RRI. They employ coping strategies of ‘following rules’, ‘dismissing’, and ‘contesting through talking the talk’. Thus, science-society policies fail to enter as a counter-logic to the hegemonic public management governing regime. The main argument is that RRI does not take hold because of a failure of meta-governance. Successful science-society policies should not focus only on encouraging scientists to adopt responsible behaviors, but on creating possible conditions for new practices.