In the contemporary world, scientific expertise is increasingly central to policy making (over climate change, stem-cell regulation, synthetic biology, ‘big data’ and robotics, for example).
In this course you will explore how experts relate to political power and policy-making in contemporary societies. It bridges political science and STS (science & technology studies) by using case studies to investigate how science and policy are linked (or fail to connect) in such areas as climate policy, innovation in life-sciences and the ethics of science and technology.
The course will be organised in blocks:
- Expertise in contemporary society: this will focus on the nature of expertise and on ‘science for policy’ (how research feeds into policy making).
- The character of public controversies over scientific and technical topics (with case studies such as BSE and climate change).
- Public participation in science and technology and the civic dimensions of scientific citizenship. This will also encompass normative aspects relating to democratic theory.
- The globalisation of science and technology governance, looking at regulation, harmonisation, the WTO and other international scientific bodies.
- How scientific experts help shape regulations
- The rise of the idea of ‘evidence-based’ policy
- Should politicians always listen to expert advice?
- Public controversies about science & technology
- Public participation in the governance of science
- What counts as ethical expertise?