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Rethinking constructive technology assessment as democratic, reflective, discourse

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Audley Genus



This paper conceives technology assessment potentially to be a constructively democratic, reflective and discursive process. The paper reviews selected literature focusing on the notion and practice of constructive technology assessment (CTA). CTA aims to produce better technology in a better society, and emphasises the early involvement of a broad array of actors to facilitate social learning about technology and potential impacts. The paper presents a new perspective of CTA based on a discussion of contiguous research on the social implications and control of technology, reflexivity and reflection in the 'risk society' (Beck), and on public understanding and participation in science and technology. The paper concludes that the future development of CTA is well served by improved articulation or revision of core elements of the approach, for example by emphasising a concern for interaction and socio-technical criticism based on democratic principles. In addition, to conceive of CTA as a discursive activity may facilitate the analysis of the limitations in practice on the role of non-experts participating in technology assessment and the capacity for self-reflection of all actors. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Genus A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Year: 2006

Volume: 73

Issue: 1

Pages: 13-26

ISSN (print): 0040-1625

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5509

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2005.06.009


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