Accepted Paper:

Democracy as usual: scientific capacity building and the epistemic orders of the Ugandan parliament  


Kerry Holden (Queen Mary University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines scientific capacity building programmes and the drive for evidenced based policymaking in the context of the Ugandan parliament.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, political institutions in the global south have been the target of scientific capacity building programmes run by NGOs and donors that are aimed at improving the communication and use of scientific and technical information in policy making and legislative debate. These programmes set out with the well-intentioned aim of conjoining political and knowledge orders as a corrective remedy that will promote democracy. In this way they articulate socio-technical imaginaries in which the role and capabilities of state institutions and the professional roles of policymakers, researchers and politicians are inscribed and acted upon. Focusing on the Ugandan parliament, this paper uses recent empirical research to describe the actual implementation and running of two capacity building programmes, one completed and one currently running. The paper uses this description to explore the conceptual repertoires of programmes through the lens of STS and postcolonial technoscience, querying how capacity is imagined, where it is assumed to exist, who has it and how it travels.

Panel T036
Social Studies of Politics: Making Collectives By All Possible Means