Accepted Paper:

(Re)imagining the nation and its future: boosting pharmaceutical innovation in Russia  


Olga Zvonareva (Maastricht University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, drawing on the case of pharmaceutical innovation policy in Russia, I consider how technologies matter in the formation of visions of the nation and its futures, and how these visions in turn frame governance of innovation.

Paper long abstract:

In 2009 the Strategy for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry in the Russian Federation till 2020 (Pharma2020) was adopted by the country's Ministry of Industry and Trade. One of the main aims of Pharma2020 is to boost the development and production of innovative drugs in Russia. This paper analyses how intensified state efforts to stimulate and support local drug innovation have co-produced a particular vision of the Russian nation and its futures. To do so I employ the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff and Kim, 2015), which not only encode visions of what is attainable through science and technology, but also of how a particular society ought or ought not to live, expressing and animating in this way shared societal understandings of good or evil as well as feeding into (re)formation of national identities.

The diffused aspirations for independent and self-sufficient Russian nation were reformulated, consolidated and rehearsed in Pharma2020 and in the related media and professional discussions, and publically performed through the policy implementation efforts. Concurrently, Pharma2020 grounded this vision in the pharmaceutical technoscientific system, granting it more strength and immediate relevance for different groups of actors, such as population, pharmaceutical professionals, and politicians, and making it communally adopted full-fledged sociotechnical imaginary. Pharmaceutical technologies, in turn, opened up political possibilities to articulate the need for concentration of the state power and (re)erecting the country borders to ensure "pharmaceutical security" of the nation-state.

Panel T071
Innovation: Discourses, politics, societies, and blind spots