Comparing the Governance of Novel Products and Processes of Biotechnology

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 52
Oral Presentation
Janus HANSEN , Department of Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
The emergence of novel products and processes of biotechnology in medicine, industry and agriculture has been accompanied by promises of healthier, safer and more productive lives and societies. However, biotechnology has also served as cause and catalyst of social controversy about the physical safety and social desirability of novel technologies. Such controversies have put the principles, institutions and instruments of governance, which has conventionally guided the interactions between science and society, under pressure. While researchers in science and technology studies (STS) have done extensive work on the substance and processes of such controversies, they have devoted less effort to link their work to the broader tradition in political science and political sociology, which analyses more general principles and varieties of governance in modern societies.

This paper presents an attempt to start to fill this gap and develop a conceptual framework for comparing and analysing new and emerging modes of governance affiliated with biotechnology in the light of more general approaches to governance. We aim for a framework that can facilitate comparative inquiries and learning across different contexts and applications, e.g. biomedical and agricultural applications, and across different polities and policy domains, e.g. different regional, national and supranational settings.

We introduce five different dimensions of governance, which we discuss with empirical illustrations: 1) the purpose of governance, 2) the drivers of governance change, 3) temporalities of governance, 4) extension of the modes of governance, and 5) sources of acceptance/legitimacy.