Public controversies over issues ranging from global warming to
biotechnology have politicized scientific expertise and research.
Some respond with calls for restoring a golden age of value-free
science. More promising efforts seek to democratize science. But
what does that mean? Can it go beyond the typical focus on public
participation? How does the politics of science challenge
prevailing views of democracy? In Science in Democracy, Mark Brown
draws on science and technology studies, democratic theory, and the
history of political thought to show why an adequate response to
politicized science depends on rethinking both science and
Brown enlists such canonical and contemporary thinkers as
Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Dewey, and Latour to argue that the
familiar dichotomy between politics and science reinforces a
similar dichotomy between direct democracy and representative
government. He then develops an alternative perspective based on
the mutual shaping of participation and representation in both
science and politics. Political representation requires scientific
expertise, and scientific institutions may become sites of
political representation. Brown illustrates his argument with
examples from expert advisory committees, bioethics councils, and
lay forums. Different institutional venues, he shows, mediate
different elements of democratic representation. If we understand
democracy as an institutionally distributed process of collective
representation, Brown argues, it becomes easier to see the
politicization of science not as a threat to democracy but as an
opportunity for it.
The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.
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