Technology assessment and democracy
Intrinsic or contingent relation?
Technology assessment has been established more than 50 years ago to provide information and decision support for democratic processes and institutions and has evolved in democratic countries over the years. However, this is merely an empirical and historical observation. In a theoretical perspective on TA, the question has to be raised if there is also an intrinsic and systematic relation between TA and democracy beyond their historical and contingent connection. In this paper I will argued that TA is inherently related with – in particular deliberative – democracy. Arguments will be based on pragmatist approaches to science and society developed by John Dewey and Jürgen Habermas. Positioning TA in close neighborhood to democracy has consequences for the social as well as the epistemic inclusion of stakeholders, people affected, and citizens in TA processes. It also must be taken seriously in determining TA’s position in the current crises of democracy.
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