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Title: The social construction of orphan drugs : innovation through knowledge networks
Author: Crompton, Helen Patricia.
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University ;
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2005
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Innovation has been studied from the perspectives of social psychology, economics, business studies, sociology and science and technology studies. Collyer (1996) claims that factors in the social or technical environment are subsumed in psychology, by an emphasis on the personality structure or cognitive activity within the individual. In the area of business studies and economics the emphasis has been on the development and transfer of products to the market rather than on the creation of new products - largely ignoring inventions that have no, or limited, commercial application (like orphan drugs) Few studies have concentrated on the social, cultural or political process of innovation, the focus being on the adoption and diffusion processes. According to Collyer (1996) most studies, which theorise the social formation of ideas and knowledge, focus on the locus of scientific knowledge production, in the research laboratory (see Knorr- Cetina 1995 in Jasanoff et al 1995, Latour 1987). These studies ignore the political and ideological influences from external sources and other sites of knowledge production (ergo Mode 2 sites in industry and for example, medical practitioners seeking solutions to practical problems, or especially in this case the patients and their advocates). Mode 1 (knowledge production) is mainly to be found in basic research, mostly academic, producing scientific documentation. Mode 2 is mainly to be found in applied research, mostly industrial, producing patents through the development of applications or processes. There may be crossovers into strategic applied research by both modes but in general they are different types of knowledge production, or the mechanism by which research benefits economic growth. Nowotny et al (2001) suggest that society is changing and the line that previously separated science and society is continually being transgressed. New networks are forming and the public speaks back to science creating new public arenas ('agoras') where the constitution of science policy involves 'negotiation', 'mediation', 'consultation' and 'contestation' challenging science and technology to produce 'socially robust' knowledge. In the orphan drug 'market' we can see industry, researchers (public and private), charitable organisations (as advocates), regulators (politics) and venture capitalists brought together in a public forum. This theses makes a significant contribution to knowledge by using a social constructionist approach as the innovation process unfolds and by providing a further methodological conceptual framework for Mode 2 knowledge production. Whilst providing evidence for Nowotny et aI's agora it also provides a model of the relationship between scientific expertise and policy making extending the decisionist and technocratic model following Edwards's (1999) claim that there is no adequate model available to demonstrate the relationships between scientific expertise, public policy making and the public.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available