The `co-productions' of science and society have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. However, contrasts between `Mode 1' and `Mode 2' are not compelling inhistorical terms. This essay will argue that, in fact, they offer too naturalistic and a-political a picture.
What I consider in this paper are various forms of government, various technologies and discursive regimes of government that are in common use today. What interests me are the categories and tools, practical dispositifs and languages that developed over the last decades ‘to constitute, define, organize, and instrumentalize the strategies that individuals, acting freely, may use to deal with one another’ (Foucault). The paper considers first the neo-liberal wish to reassert the individual as alone in responsibility for his/her own life (...) after the unfortunate digression into Welfare Statism and Keynesian economics, source of all ills. It then focuses on some material and social technologies that encourage people to accept full and complete ‘self-sovereignty’. This section leads to a discussion on the new demands (and resistance) society imposed on this liberal normative ideal. It notably considers the growing demands to ‘participate’ in decision processes and to be environmentally friendly. In section Les Mots et Les Choses: A New Discursive Regime , it considers the discursive regime that progressively took shape and which currently permeates international governance bodies of all stripes—from the World Bank to the Conference of Parties for Climate Change. In the final section, it comes back to the initial question and considers what these changes actually mean for the democratic order as constituted over the past 250 years. (shrink)