Science with and for society: ontopolitics of democratisation

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Anestis Amanatidis
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
As a policy instrument serving the European Commission’s ambition to align science with societal needs, responsible research and innovation has assumed a central role in funding and research activities under the ‘Science with and for Society’ programme. Despite its prominence and the consensus about what RRI is among scholars and policymakers, translating it to practice has proven to be rather difficult, emphasising a missing link between policy making and its outcomes. In this thesis, I provide an intimate account from three months of ethnographic work in a research project that was funded to conduct local RRI experimentations in the Örebro region to address this gap. With particular focus on the local practitioners and the European researchers’ practices of RRI, I embark on an ontopolitical discussion to make the case that RRI governance does not account for difference, which I argue for in two forms: First, that the researchers are bound to the policymakers’ assumption of ontological singularity imposed through the way the project is governed, becoming callous towards any actor who does not subscribe to it. Secondly, that RRI is handled as a matter of fact, an immutable framework, that can be operationalised, made measurable and implemented in any organisational or cultural setting without attending to local specificities. Finally, I conclude by calling for the accounting of ontological multiplicity in RRI governance by drawing on Latour’s work on compositionism and reframing European research consortia as ontopolitically charged arenas of concern, emphasising that RRI cannot be taken as a given.
Publication date3 Jun 2021
ID: 413704102