Accepted paper:

Meeting between the scientist and the public: RRI as a challenging transformation of scientists' identity


Andreas Röß (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI)
Philine Warnke (Fraunhofer Institute of Systems and Innovation Research ISI)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to reflect the results of various workshops, which we carried out within a RRI project. Following Foucault, we read the RRI policy as a new form of governing the scientist. Based on empirical workshop results we illustrate the ambivalent outcomes of this subjectivation strategy.

Paper long abstract:

The EU-policy 'Responsible Research and Innovation' (RRI) aims at the responsibilisation of research and innovation processes by opening it up to societal actors. RRI therefore is regarded as part of the broader participatory turn in (science) governance. While the majority of the RRI discussions focus on the different meanings and principles of responsibility in research and innovation and how to implement it, here we want to focus on the transformation of the scientist itself. Based on findings, which were gathered through the JERRI project, we discuss how the expectations, the tasks and the self-perception of the scientist/expert is now under new construction. Being a responsible scientist requires new abilities (e.g. communication with the public), new dispositions (e.g. proactively anticipating risks), and new criteria of what is considered as good, responsible research. Therefore, we interpret the RRI policy as a new form of governing the scientist in the sense of Foucault. Furthermore, we argue with Foucault, that the RRI policy fits widely with what can be called 'neoliberal governance'. Nevertheless, the responsibility term of RRI is very vague and leaves opportunities for alternative ways of being a responsible scientist. Overall, we want to point towards the ambivalent subjectivation of scientists through RRI.

panel F03
Scientists - agents under construction