This panel aims to make sense of and critically examine the mobilization of S&T innovation towards the consolidation of the EU, asking which visions of the EU do innovation policies encode and perform, and which kinds of socio-political reconfigurations do they bring about.
Ever increasingly since the launch of the Lisbon Agenda at the turn of the millennium, the European Union has targeted the acceleration of scientific and technological innovation as a key policy objective, envisaging the consolidation of the Union as dependent upon its "power to innovate". Emphasized as one of the privileged means to steer the EU out of its current economic and political gridlock, while being heralded as conducive to nothing less than a "new Renaissance", the acceleration of innovation has come to underpin the promise of the European project and to define the imaginaries around which the fragile EU polity is envisaged to coalesce. In this panel, we welcome empirical and conceptual contributions aimed at making sense of and critically examining the mobilization of innovation visions and policies towards the socio-political consolidation of the EU and its transnational exercise of political, economic and cultural power. Specifically, some questions that the panel seeks to probe include: which vision of the EU do innovation policies encode and perform? How is agency (re)distributed among different actors groups, and how are state-market-science relations and public-private boundaries being redefined, in EU innovation policies? Which actors groups are empowered to speak and act in the name of accelerating innovation, and whose voices are disenfranchised? What are the emerging tensions and frictions between the diverse ideals enshrined in innovation programs, from competitiveness and growth through to democratic accountability and social justice? How do specific visions of innovation depend upon, mobilize and/or reinforce existing socio-political inequalities?