Why do we still need participatory technology assessment?

Poiesis and Praxis 9 (1-2):27-41 (2012)
Abstract
The paper contributes to the current discussion on the role of participatory methods in the context of technology assessment (TA) and science and technology (S&T) governance. It is argued that TA has to be understood as a form of democratic policy consulting in the sense of the Habermasian model of a “pragmatist” relation of science and politics. This notion implies that public participation is an indispensable element of TA in the context of policy advice. Against this background, participatory TA (pTA) is defended against recent criticism of procedures of lay participation which states that pTA is lacking impact on S&T decision making, that pTA instead of opening S&T policies to new perspectives is used as a means to support mainstream S&T policy and that in pTA procedure the authentic lay perspective is systematically contorted by dominant expert knowledge
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