Citizens experts and technoscience : a case study of GM Nation? : the public debate
Moving beyond democratically grounded models of participation, the thesis argues for participation to be organised around experiential expertise by speaking epistemically of levels of expertise held by experts whatever their social position and location. The thesis is then concerned with determining and defending the types of knowledge and experience pertinent to policy formation and decision-making held by scientific and citizen communities. The empirical work begins by showing that politically and legally, GM was only a technical issue, and so the space for alternative framings and citizen participation was formally limited. An exploration of alternative framings is given through Q methodology and analysing transcripts from public GM debates. Then, following a close analysis and comparison of the knowledges and rationalities used by debate participants, it is argued that the extended claim to public participation into the technical aspects of a policy or decision-making process must be limited to those with genuine technical expertise. However, the reverse is then argued for the political aspects of a decision; the empirical rationality utilised by technical experts, particularly from scientific communities, is inadequate to cope with the complex demands of technoscience in public policy and that, therefore, the presumed 'natural' relationship between 'experts' and policy must be reconfigured accordingly. A model is proposed that, for the practical purposes of getting business done, separates technical and politico-ethical capacities and decision-making procedures, and experts and citizens respectively.