Authors: Abels, Gabriele
Title: Organizer, observer and participant
Other Titles: What role for social scientists in different pTA models?
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Public participation has become an important issue in science and technology studies as well as in politics. Procedures creating such multi-actor spaces of public participation are usually discussed under the label "participatory technology assessment" (pTA). PTA is considered to be a possible and promising way to foster direct interaction between members of the general public (lay people), organized interest groups, scientific experts, and sometimes also policy makers. Over the last ten years pTA has been utilized in many European countries, but also elsewhere in the world. However, there are vast differences regarding participatory methods. Abels and Bora propose a typology differentiating among seven different types of procedures. These seven types adopt divergent approaches with regard to the participants involved (who), the ways and means of participation (how) and the supposed functions of public participation (what for). The paper investigates the role social scientists play in pTA. It argues that social scientists can act in three different roles: as organizers of pTA, as scientific observers and as participants. The last role can take two different directions. Social scientists can be involved in pTA as "regular" scientific experts, or they can serve as "translators" in the complicated communication among social groups. It is this role as translator that is considered to be most innovative and worth exploring in the theory and praxis of pTA.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2003/26780
http://dx.doi.org/10.17877/DE290R-8466
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Technische Universität Dortmund
Appears in Collections:Issue 1

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