Rediscovering a risky ideology: technocracy and its effects on technology governance

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Despite longstanding critiques, the dominant method of governing technology remains based on processes that abstract away the complexity of human and social factors. They frame political decision-making in terms of risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses. This articles argues that the well-known issues arising from a technocratic method of governance cannot be solely addressed through procedural fixes (i.e. injecting more public participation and layperson perspectives into scientific or policy processes). This approach is, ironically, a technocratic one that views problems and solutions in terms of applying the right method. Rather, there is also a drastic need for research and practice directed not at the citizen side, but at understanding and confronting the politics and power of contemporary technocrats. Put simply, the questions of who governs technology and how they do it are answered through political contest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2020


  • governance
  • public participation
  • risk assessment
  • Technocracy

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