Accepted Paper:

Regimes of techno-scientific promises - Drawing on lessons from the past to understand the current regime  

Author:

Pierre-Benoit Joly (INRA / UPEM)

Paper short abstract:

We have claimed in previous papers that the regime of techno-scientific promises has become dominant since the 70’s. Such a claim, however, does not draw on empirical evidence. The objective of this paper is to outline a research project that would fill this gap.

Paper long abstract:

We have claimed in previous papers that the regime of techno-scientific promises has become dominant since the 70's (Joly et al. 2010, Joly 2015). We argued that the pervasive influence of this regime is based on three interrelated elements. First, since the 70's, we live in a regime of historicity (Hartog, 2003) where future is contested and where the notion of progress is problematized. Second, in this context, research and innovation are very often presented as the obligatory passage point for addressing big societal challenges. The third element is related to New Public Management that creates a strong pressure for individuals and organizations to formulate promises on the ability of their research to address societal challenges.

Such a claim, however, does not draw on empirical evidence and hence. The objective of this paper is to explore the role of expectations, visions, and promises in the constitution of new technologies that were developed before the 70's. Two examples will be taken: the Green revolution and Nuclear Energy. Drawing on these examples, the aim is to identify similarities and differences in the making of promises, their circulations, and their reception. Beyond the interest of this empirical analysis as such, we will reflect on the way we can design a wider study of the changes of regime of techno-scientific promises before and after the 70's. This will also lead to a better understanding of the specificities of the current regime and its possible evolutions.

Panel T094
Emerging science and technology : questioning the regime of promising