Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum: Neglected narratives of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and its Possible Futures

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Largely considered a new conceptual approach for understanding the system of research and innovation, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) undoubtedly has multiple roots, but few would deny that the development of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has played a central role. Standard histories of STS typically describe the evolution of the discipline from its early emphasis on unpacking the processes involved in the creation and legitimization of scientific ideas, towards a more critical, cultural approach to knowledge production, which is attentive to feminist and postcolonial critiques (Cutcliffe, 2000). However, a second history of STS, which shares more in common with the objectives of RRI, speaks more to its origins as a “movement”, where the focus from the outset was more explicitly upon the politics of technology, on illuminating the social and political implications of society’s technological choices (Jasanoff, 2010; Rip, 1979). Through the analysis of archival material, interviews, articles, and conference reports, I explore the “delightfully unruly territory” that was STS in the 1960s and 1970s (Jasanoff, 2010). I show that through various dialogues and interactions, via multiple channels of communication, competing narratives and evaluations of technological change and its impacts emerged. I focus particularly on how different aims, agendas, and methodologies were negotiated within new types of collaborations across industry, the academy, and civil society. I ask what a critical history of RRI, which explores forgotten aspects of its history, might reveal in terms of how RRI might have been otherwise. I suggest that opening up established narratives could encourage engagement with neglected narratives, arguing that the history of RRI has a greater role to play in imagining its alternative futures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventEASST/4S 2020 Conference: Located and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds - VIR_Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 18 Aug 202021 Aug 2020


ConferenceEASST/4S 2020 Conference
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address

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