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Accepted Contribution:

Knowledge politics of public participation: the case of a Dutch public dialogue on gene editing in plants  
Michelle Habets (The Rathenau Instituut) Phil Macnaghten (Wageningen University)

Short abstract:

This study explores Dutch citizen perspectives on gene editing in plants in the context of a polarized political debate. We employ an anticipatory public engagement methodology to include diverse voices. We explore the institutional dynamics of making citizen knowledge authoritative.

Long abstract:

We analyse the case of a public dialogue initiative conducted in the Netherlands with the aim of understanding the views of Dutch citizens on the use of New Breeding Techniques (NGTs) in plants.

First, we describe the political debate in the Netherlands and the EU on the regulation of NGTs to situate the public dialogue. This debate takes place in the form a polemic, with a limited array of institutional actors advocating policy options (for or against exemption) with only marginal recourse to citizen perspectives. We examine how the wider political landscape has framed the debate, the assumptions underpinning such frames and the privileging of which epistemic cultures and knowledge claims.

Second, we develop and extend an anticipatory public engagement using focus group (APEFG) methodology to broaden the debate and include actors systematically omitted from regulatory and policy debates. By adopting an endogenous methodology open to the issues citizens view as relevant to the governance of gene edited crops, our aim is to extend the frames of what counts as publicly authoritative knowledge.

Third, we examine the knowledge politics dynamics implicated in the search for making citizen knowledge claims and discourses publicly authoritative. We focus in particular on the institutional logics of policy institutions and their (in)capacity to align with (marginalised) citizen frames and discourses.

Combined Format Open Panel P317
Calling controversy, again: what role for STS?
  Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -