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Acceptance and acceptability – challenges and opportunities for transformative and sustainable technologies 
Karen Moesker (TU Delft)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Transformative technologies often face societal pushback despite sustainability promises. The concepts acceptance and acceptability are a means to alleviate this issue, but agreed-on interpretations are lacking. This panel seeks to bridge understandings by inviting multidisciplinary contributions.

Long Abstract:

Emerging technologies have increasingly encountered societal resistance in recent years despite their promised transformative potential for a more sustainable future. To overcome resistance towards potentially beneficial technologies, researchers and practitioners increasingly focus on acceptance and acceptability when shaping technology implementation strategies. However, these concepts lack precise definitions, resulting in a spectrum of interpretations and proposed approaches hindering efficient development in technology research. Often, the different interpretations of the concepts depend not only on any specific research discipline but also on the type of technology in focus. For example, consumer-centred technologies usually focus on the acceptance and acceptability aspects of the individual. In contrast, these concepts are seen through the lens of institutions and social dynamics for large infrastructures.

This multidisciplinary panel aims to connect differing understandings of acceptance and acceptability concepts. With this, the panel seeks to create a substantive discourse on the challenges and benefits of actively pursuing approaches that focus on these concepts across different disciplines. A wide range of contributions is welcome, such as theoretical advancements, particular understandings of the concepts in a specific technological context, and empirical findings.

We envision a 5-minute pitch per presenter on their contribution to the topic. This presentation can be traditional, but other forms are also most welcome. After, we would like to do a workshop where we split the group into smaller groups and provide several questions that people need to answer with their own research and technology in mind. The answers will be collected on a poster from which the whole group will try to combine the findings, potentially creating sorting categories for different interpretations, technologies or empirical findings. With this workshop, we hope to further the understanding of what acceptance and acceptability mean in theory as well as in practice, increasing the robustness of technology implementation processes.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1
Session 2