Get Atoms, Bytes and Genes: Public Resistance and PDF

By Martin W. Bauer

ISBN-10: 0415958032

ISBN-13: 9780415958035

"Atom," "byte" and "gene" are metonymies for techno-scientific advancements of the 20 th century: nuclear strength, computing and genetic engineering. Resistance maintains to problem those advancements in public opinion. This publication lines ancient debates over atoms, bytes and genes which raised controversy with outcomes, and argues that public opinion is an element of the improvement of recent techno-science. the extent and scope of public controversy is an index of resistance, tested the following with a "pain analogy" which exhibits that simply as ache affects flow, resistance affects techno-scientific mobilization: it signs that whatever is incorrect, and this calls for awareness, elaboration and a reaction to the problem. This research indicates how assorted fields of enquiry take care of the resistance of social-psychological mentalities within the face of commercial, medical and political actions encouraged via projected futures.

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The movement concept also avoids separating means from ends in human activity. Techno-sciences are tied to aspirations for a ‘better world’ (see Boesch, 2005), to values and worldviews (Blumenberg, 1981 [1959]), and to a quest for social identity: what society do we want to be (see Winner, 1986)? The purpose of this chapter is to rehearse some of the elements of this analysis. The rest of the book will focus on empirical difficulties in the social mobilisation for nuclear power, genetic engineering, and computing and information technology during the second part of the 20th century and into the new millennium.

Risk regulations and increased private patronage led to a new context for conducting science (see Mirovski and Sent, 2005; Krimsky, 2003; Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000) with implications for the way the techno-science is done. What we have seen since the 1980s is a return of the movement character of science, of mobilising the public, but with a new repertoire of actions. This leads to a historical thesis: Social mobilisation for techno-science is a historical practice with novel means. It seems unusual to talk of science as a social movement, as collective action analysis mostly deals with societal outsiders and political opposition movements; how can something as established as science and technology be a social movement?

The issue is disambiguated within a niche of a like-minded community, not without confl ict. In a second stage, gatekeepers and media issue scouts give attention and legitimacy to an issue. Thus the issue moves from the niche community to the general public, the grievance gains clarity, recognition and routine coverage. The issue is routine when a ‘correspondent’ gets a beat on the environment or on IT. Then the news changes from occasional coverage to full public framing. Wider public attention stimulates renewed specialist attention, a positive feedback that prepares another cycle of public attention.

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Atoms, Bytes and Genes: Public Resistance and Techno-Scientific Responses by Martin W. Bauer


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