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Accepted Paper:

Rethinking risk governance: Towards a constitutive approach  
Hannot Rodríguez (University of the Basque Country UPV-EHU)

Paper short abstract:

Risk is not just a fact, as EU’s RRI assumes, but a heterogeneously constituted reality in which socio-economic considerations are involved. “Constituted risk” implies rethinking risk governance as the governance of the diverse factors by which techno-industrial safeties are constituted.

Paper long abstract:

Technological risks are regulated to protect health and the environment. However, risk governance policies tend to restrict the range of legitimate approaches to safety on the principle that it can only be debated in the frame of an allegedly objective scientific representation of risk. Socio-economic factors related to innovation dynamics (e.g., underlying innovation rationales or overall societal values) are, thus, not conceived as related to the constitution of safety itself. Risk is then generally represented as a collateral negative consequence, solvable on technical grounds, as is arguably the case in European Union (EU) "Responsible Research and Innovation" (RRI). This paper, which analyses EU regulations and policy narratives, aims to overcome that framing of safety by developing a "constitutive" perspective on the relation between risk and socio-economic factors and dynamics. It argues that risk is constituted according to socio-economic considerations and, as so, it arguably goes beyond most analytical-deliberative STS risk governance theoretical models, where that constitutive character of risk seems not to be fully considered. Understanding risk in constitutive terms allows re-framing risk governance beyond the conventional boundaries of "objective risk" and, consequently, conceiving a broader set of legitimate potential safety scenarios, in tune with the main goal of Track 86. However, such a constitutive risk governance will also highlight serious difficulties to implement more critical constitutions of techno-industrial risk in the framework of highly competitive knowledge-based societies.

Panel T086
Rethinking innovation and governance
  Session 1 Thursday 1 September, 2016, -