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Introduction: Governing Technology Through Public Participation

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Chapter Summary

This is the introduction chapter of the book, which focuses on regular, routine forms of participatory governance. These forms can be found at the heart of political power, namely in all kinds of administrative, i.e. executive procedure. It discusses the relationship between public participation and sociological theory. It then examines all relevant theoretical approaches-namely pragmatic, discursive and differentiation-theoretical-in order to investigate the potential for a synthesis of differentiation and pragmatic traditions. The book takes up the challenge of theorizing participation in biotechnology regimes from the point of view of political sociology and political theory. It takes a comparative perspective by asking how it is possible to democratise the regulation of agro-biotechnology. It then takes up the theoretical opening and shows by a detailed analysis of an administrative decision-making process, how and why deficits occurred. It also examines the relation between law and participation from perspective of Law and Society Studies.

Keywords: biotechnology; decision-making process; governing technology; participatory governance; political theory; public participation; society studies; sociological theory



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