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Accepted Contribution:

Asking different kinds of questions, doing controversial transformations differently  
Karen Kastenhofer (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Short abstract:

Potential practices and roles of STS and TA in the current agribiotech controversy are discussed. I thereby address prevalent discursive frames and their scopes and the framing as a controversy as such.

Long abstract:

Past waves of biotech controversies have succumbed to risk frames and ethics frames mostly (cp. Kastenhofer 2009). These discursive framings related to the prevalent regulatory frameworks and institutional landscapes of the time (Böschen et al. 2010, Bogner and Menz 2010). Moreover, they further fueled a staging of biotech controversies as science-based controversies on the one hand and ethical conflicts on the other hand. Thus, the relevant expertise and relating experts were also pre-defined and pre-selected by the two framings. Within the contemporary conflict over agribiotechnology (de)regulation in the wake of the introduction of genome editing technologies, a new powerful frame is being propagated: proponents of the new ‘precision engineering’ raise hopes that genome edited plants can help with adapting to climate change. With this new frame, the scope of what biotechnology is, what the relevant actor-networks for realizing and safeguarding these new ambitions are, and what auxiliary measures would be necessary, also changes. But who are the experts to raise such concerns? Should STS and TA step in? What are the mechanisms of making and doing controversy and what are their downsides? What is (the scope of) biotechnology? Concludingly, I ask what the roles and practices of STS and TA scholars in making and doing innovation through science-based controversies are, what they could be and what we want them to be.

Combined Format Open Panel P317
Calling controversy, again: what role for STS?
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -