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By Dr Justus Lentsch, Peter Weingart

Controversies over matters comparable to genetically engineered nutrition, foot-and-mouth sickness and the failure of chance versions within the international monetary problem have raised issues in regards to the caliber of professional clinical suggestion. The legitimacy of specialists, and of the political decision-makers and policy-makers whom they recommend, basically is determined by the standard of the recommendation. yet what does caliber suggest during this context, and the way can or not it's accomplished? This quantity argues that the standard of clinical suggestion will be ensured through a suitable institutional layout of advisory organizations. utilizing examples from quite a lot of foreign case reports, together with imagine tanks, governmental examine institutes, corporations and academies, the authors supply a scientific consultant to the key difficulties and pitfalls encountered in clinical suggestion and the capacity during which organizations all over the world have solved those difficulties.

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Extra resources for The Politics of Scientific Advice: Institutional Design for Quality Assurance

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Historians of the social sciences, Quality control and peer review in advisory science 23 for example, have argued that the rise of the social sciences of classification, quantification and prediction accompanied the emergence of the nation state as the dominant form of government in the nineteenth century (see, for example, Foucault 1979; Desrosie`res 1991; Porter 1995). To wield power, and to do so with conviction, states – and empires – needed to know their populations in a deep-going sense, separating normal (or safe) from pathological (or risky) behaviours, and identifying phenomena that required corrective action by the state.

Instead, we find ourselves squarely in the so-called Mode 2 world of scientific production, where the old image of science as answerable only to nature is discarded in favour of a view that foregrounds the social aspects of scientific production. As discussed by Michael Gibbons, Helga Nowotny and others (Gibbons et al. 1994), we have to recognise, beside the classical processes of curiosity-driven disciplinary science, another form of knowledge-making that openly takes its marching orders from social needs rather than nature’s puzzles.

The last paper in the first part by Sarewitz (Chapter 4) functions as a provocative counterpoint to the first two by Jasanoff and Oreskes: Sarewitz argues that it may sometimes be better to disentangle science and politics. It can be much more promising to look for effective technological interventions to cope with complex and contested challenges to human well-being than to generate and deploy scientific knowledge aimed at improving decision-making and public policies. What makes certain technological fixes6 such remarkably reliable cause-and-effect machines is that their problem-solving capacity is localised in a particular technology whose performance is largely insensitive to the surrounding context and background conditions.

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