Books

Accelerating Sustainable Energy Transition(s) in Developing Countries: The challenges of climate change and sustainable development

Laurence Delina 

Routledge, 2018
Accelerating sustainable energy transitions away from carbon-based fuel sources needs to be high on the agendas of developing countries. This book explores how the transitions occur in fourteen developing countries and broadly surveys their technological, policy, financing, and institutional capacities in response to the three key aspects of energy transitions: achieving universal energy access, harvesting energy efficiency, and deploying renewable energy. The book shows how fragmented these approaches are, how they occur across multiple levels of governance, and how policy, financing, and institutional turns could occur in these complex settings.

More information is available here.

Bioeconomies Life, Technology, and Capital in the 21st Century

Vincenzo Pavone, Joanna Goven

Palgrave, 2017
This book explores the promissory discourses and practices associated with the bioeconomy, focusing especially on the transformation of institutions; the creation, appropriation, and distribution of value; the struggle over resources, power, and meaning; and the role of altruism, kinship, and care practices. Governments and science enthusiasts worldwide are embracing the bioeconomy, championing it as the key to health, wealth, and sustainability, while citing it as justification to transform research and regulatory institutions, health and agricultural practices, ethics of privacy and ownership, and conceptions of self and kin. Drawing together studies from Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe, this volume encompasses subjects as diverse as regenerative medicine, population health research, agricultural finance, biobanking, assisted reproduction, and immigration.

More information is available here.

Reordering Life: Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution

Stephen Hilgartner

MIT 2017
The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the “genomics revolution” and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP)—the symbolic and scientific centerpiece of the emerging field—showing how problems of governance arose in concert with new knowledge and technology. Using a theoretical framework that analyzes “knowledge control regimes,” Hilgartner investigates change in how control was secured, contested, allocated, resisted, justified, and reshaped as biological knowledge was transformed. Beyond illuminating genomics, Reordering Life sheds new light on broader issues about secrecy and openness in science, data access and ownership, and the politics of research communities.

More information is available here.

Structure, Agency and Biotechnology: The Case of the Rothamsted GM Wheat Trials

Aristeidis Panagiotou

Anthem Press 2017
The overarching aim of “Structure, Agency, Biotechnology: The Case of the Rothamsted GM Wheat Trials” is to propose a way of filling the analytical gap found in the current literature by offering an original theoretical framework. This framework is able to assess both the content and context of the scientific field without resorting either to deterministic or to what theorists refer to as “conflationist strategies.” In order to demonstrate the heuristic value of the framework, the 2012 GM wheat field trials carried out by Rothamsted Research, often associated with the “second push” of agribiotech firms to bring Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the UK, are assessed, and key aspects of the experiment are underscored. At the same time, the broader institutional arrangements, key ideological constructs and the social order are examined, and a reframing of the controversy which moves beyond the simplistic conceptualization of it being a case of science versus politics is suggested. 

More information is available here.

Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe

Shobita Parthasarathy 

University of Chicago Press, 2017

Over the past thirty years, the world’s patent systems have experienced pressure from civil society like never before. From farmers to patient advocates, new voices are arguing that patents impact public health, economic inequality, morality—and democracy. These challenges, to domains that we usually consider technical and legal, may seem surprising. But in Patent Politics, Shobita Parthasarathy argues that patent systems have always been deeply political and social.

More information is available here.

The Practices of Global Ethics

Frederick Bird, Sumner B. Twiss, Kusumita Pedersen, Clark A. Miller, and Grelle Bruce

Edinburgh University Press, 2016

The Practices of Global Ethics takes a unique look at global ethics: not as mere written statements but as a set of practices undertaken by thousands of organisations and hundreds of thousands of people to shape the normative trajectory of human affairs.

More information is available here.

Science and Democracy: Making Knowledge and Making Power in the Biosciences and Beyond

Edited by Stephen Hilgartner, Clark Miller and Rob Hagendijk

Routledge, 2015

In the life sciences and beyond, new developments in science and technology and the creation of new social orders go hand in hand. In short, science and society are simultaneously and reciprocally coproduced and changed. These dynamic processes are tightly connected to significant redistributions of wealth and power, and they sometimes threaten and sometimes enhance democracy. Understanding these phenomena poses important intellectual and normative challenges: neither traditional social sciences nor prevailing modes of democratic governance have fully grappled with the deep and growing significance of knowledge-making in twenty-first century politics and markets.

More information is available here.

Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research

Charis Thompson

MIT, 2013

After a decade and a half, human pluripotent stem cell research has been normalized. There may be no consensus on the status of the embryo—only a tacit agreement to disagree—but the debate now takes place in a context in which human stem cell research and related technologies already exist. In this book, Charis Thompson investigates the evolution of the controversy over human pluripotent stem cell research in the United States and proposes a new ethical approach for “good science.”

More information is available here.

Can science fix climate change? A case against climate engineering

Mike Hulme

Polity, 2014

Building on new work in science and technology studies (STS), this book advances the systematic analysis of the coproduction of knowledge and power in contemporary societies. Using case studies in the new life sciences, supplemented with cases on informatics and other topics such as climate science, this book presents a theoretical framing of coproduction processes while also providing detailed empirical analyses and nuanced comparative work.

More information is available here.

Knowledge, Technology and Law (Law, Science and Society)

Emile Cloatre and Martyn Pickersgill (Eds.)

Routledge, 2015

The relationships between knowledge, technologies, and legal processes are central to the constitution of contemporary societies. This book charts the important interface between studies of law, science and society, as explored from the perspectives of socio-legal studies and the increasingly influential field of science and technology studies. It brings together scholars from both areas to interrogate the joint roles of law and science in the construction and stabilization of socio-technical networks, objects, and standards, as well as their place in the production of contemporary social realities and subjectivities.

 More information is available here.

Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict

Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff (Eds.)

Oxford University Press, 2013

A popular myth emerged in the late 1990s: in 1900, wars killed one civilian for every eight soldiers, while contemporary wars were killing eight civilians for every one soldier. However, subsequent research found no empirical evidence for the idea that the ratio of civilians to soldiers killed in war has changed dramatically. But while the ratios may not have changed, the political significance of civilian casualties has risen tremendously. Counting Civilian Casualties aims to promote open scientific dialogue by high lighting the strengths and weaknesses of the most commonly used casualty recording and estimation techniques in an understandable format.

More information is available here.

Imagined Democracies: Necessary Political Fictions

Yaron Ezrahi

Cambridge University Press, 2012

This book proposes a revisionist approach to democratic politics. Yaron Ezrahi focuses on the creative unconscious collective imagination that generates ever-changing visions of legitimate power and authority, which compete for enactment and institutionalization in the political arena. Exposure to electronic mass media has made contemporary democratic publics more aware that credible popular fictions have greater impact on shaping our political realities than do rational social choices or moral arguments. The pressing political question in contemporary democracy is, therefore, how to select and enact political fictions that promote peace, not violence, and how to found the political order on checks and balances between alternative political imaginaries of freedom and justice.

More information is available here.

Secrecy and Science: A Historical Sociology of Biological and Chemical Warfare

Brian Balmer

Ashgate Publishing, March 2012

It is no secret that twentieth-century Britain was governed through a culture of secrecy, and secrecy was particularly endemic in military research and defence policy surrounding biological and chemical warfare. Drawing on classical sociological writing on secrecy by Simmel, Merton and Shils this book draws on recently declassified documents to investigate significant episodes in the history of biological and chemical warfare. At the same time, it draws on more contemporary perspectives in science and technology studies that understand knowledge and social order as co-produced within heterogeneous networks of 'things and people' in order to develop a theoretical set of arguments about how the relationship between secrecy and science might be understood.

More information is available here.

Instituting Nature: Authority, Expertise, and Power in Mexican Rainforests

Andrew S. Mathews

MIT Press, 2011

Greater knowledge and transparency are often promoted as the keys to solving a wide array of governance problems. In Instituting Nature, Andrew Mathews describes Mexico's efforts over the past hundred years to manage its forests through forestry science and biodiversity conservation. He shows that transparent knowledge was produced not by official declarations or scientists' expertise but by encounters between the relatively weak forestry bureaucracy and the indigenous people who manage and own the pine forests of Mexico.

 

More information is available here.

GM Food on Trial: Testing European Democracy

Les Levidrow and Susan Carr

Routledge, 2010

Europe was told that it had no choice but to accept agbiotech, yet this imperative was turned into a test of democratic accountability for societal choices. Since the late 1990s, European public controversy has kept the agri-biotech industry and its promoters on the defensive. This book examines European institutions being put 'on trial' for how their regulatory procedures evaluate and regulate GM products. The book highlights how public controversy led to national policy changes and demands, in turn stimulating changes in EU agbiotech regulations as a means to regain legitimacy.

More information is available here.

Das Klimaexperiment und der IPCC: Schnittstellen zwischen Wissenschaft und Politik in den internationalen Beziehungen

Silke Beck

Metropolis Verlag, 2009

More information is available here.

Science in Democracy: Expertise, Institutions, and Representation

Mark B. Brown

MIT Press, 2009

Public controversies over issues ranging from global warming to biotechnology have politicized scientific expertise and research. Some respond with calls for restoring a golden age of value-free science. More promising efforts seek to democratize science. But what does that mean? Can it go beyond the typical focus on public participation? How does the politics of science challenge prevailing views of democracy? In Science in Democracy, Mark Brown draws on science and technology studies, democratic theory, and the history of political thought to show why an adequate response to politicized science depends on rethinking both science and democracy.

More information is available here.

Forest Guardians, Forest Destroyers: The Politics of Environmental Knowledge in Northern Thailand

Tim Forsyth and Andrew Walker

University of Washington Press, 2008In this far-reaching examination of environmental problems and politics in northern Thailand, Tim Forsyth and Andrew Walker analyze deforestation, water supply, soil erosion, use of agrochemicals, and biodiversity in order to challenge popularly held notions of environmental crisis. They argue that such crises have been used to support political objectives of state expansion and control in the uplands. They have also been used to justify the alternative directions advocated by an array of NGOs. They conclude that current explanations fail to address the real causes of environmental problems and unnecessarily restrict the livelihoods of local people.

More information is available here.

Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling

Jay D. Aronson

Rutgers University Press, 2007

When DNA profiling was first introduced into the American legal system in 1987, it was heralded as a technology that would revolutionize law enforcement. Yet, this promise took ten turbulent years to be fulfilled. In Genetic Witness, Jay D. Aronson uncovers the dramatic early history of DNA profiling that has been obscured by the technique's recent success. He demonstrates that robust quality control and quality assurance measures were initially nonexistent, interpretation of test results was based more on assumption than empirical evidence, and the technique was susceptible to error at every stage.

More information is available here.

Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care

Shobita Parthasarathy

MIT Press, 2007

In Building Genetic Medicine, Shobita Parthasarathy shows how, even in an era of globalization, national context is playing an important role in the development and use of genetic technologies. Focusing on the development and deployment of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer (known as BRCA testing) in the United States and Britain, Parthasarathy develops a comparative analysis framework in order to investigate how national "toolkits" shape both regulations and the architectures of technologies and uses this framework to assess the implications of new genetic technologies.

More information is available here.

The Measure of Merit: Talents, Intelligence, and Inequality in the French and American Republics, 1750-1940

John Carson

Princeton University Press, 2006

How have modern democracies squared their commitment to equality with their fear that disparities in talent and intelligence might be natural, persistent, and consequential? In this wide-ranging account of American and French understandings of merit, talent, and intelligence over the past two centuries, John Carson tells the fascinating story of how two nations wrestled scientifically with human inequalities and their social and political implications. He reveals the crucial role that determinations of, and contests over, merit have played in both societies—they have helped to organize educational systems, justify racial hierarchies, classify army recruits, and direct individuals onto particular educational and career paths.

More information is available here.

Pharmacopolitics: Drug Regulation in the United States and Germany

Arthur A. Daemmrich

University of North Carolina Press, 2006

Advocates of rapid access to medicines and critics fearful of inadequate testing both argue that globalization will supersede national medical practices and result in the easy transfer of pharmaceuticals around the world. In Pharmacopolitics, Arthur Daemmrich challenges their assumptions by comparing drug laws, clinical trials, and systems for monitoring adverse reactions in the United States and Germany, two countries with similarly advanced systems for medical research, testing, and patient care. Daemmrich proposes that divergent "therapeutic cultures"—the interrelationships among governments, patients, the medical profession, and the pharmaceutical industry—underlie national differences and explain variations in pharmaceutical markets and medical care.

More information is available here.

Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States

Sheila Jasanoff

Princeton University Press, 2005

Biology and politics have converged today across much of the industrialized world. Debates about genetically modified organisms, cloning, stem cells, animal patenting, and new reproductive technologies crowd media headlines and policy agendas. Less noticed, but no less important, are the rifts that have appeared among leading Western nations about the right way to govern innovation in genetics and biotechnology. These significant differences in law and policy, and in ethical analysis, may in a globalizing world act as obstacles to free trade, scientific inquiry, and shared understandings of human dignity.

More information is available here.

Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance

Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello, eds.

MIT Press, 2004

Globalization today is as much a problem for international harmony as it is a necessary condition of living together on our planet. Increasing interconnectedness in ecology, economy, technology, and politics has brought nations and societies into ever closer contact, creating acute demands for cooperation. Earthly Politics argues that in the coming decades global governance will have to accommodate differences, even as it obliterates distance, and will have to respect many aspects of the local while developing institutions that transcend localism.

More information is available here.

States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order

Sheila Jasanoff, ed.

Routledge, 2004 (paperback 2006)

In the past twenty years, the field of science and technology studies (STS) has made considerable progress toward illuminating the relationship between scientific knowledge and political power. These insights have not yet been synthesized or presented in a form that systematically highlights the connections between STS and other social sciences. This timely collection of essays by some of the leading scholars in the field attempts to fill that gap. The book develops the theme of co-production, showing how scientific knowledge both embeds and is embedded in social identities, institutions, representations and discourses. Accordingly, the authors argue, ways of knowing the world are inseparably linked to the ways in which people seek to organize and control it.

More information is available here.

Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life

Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Duke University Press, 2006

Biocapital is a major theoretical contribution to science studies and political economy. Grounding his analysis in a multi-sited ethnography of genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India, Kaushik Sunder Rajan argues that contemporary biotechnologies such as genomics can only be understood in relation to the economic markets within which they emerge. Bringing Marxian theories of value into conversation with Foucaultian notions of biopolitics, he traces how the life sciences came to be significant producers of both economic and epistemic value in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.

 

More information is available here.

Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics

Jenny Reardon

Princeton University Press, 2004

In the summer of 1991, population geneticists and evolutionary biologists proposed to archive human genetic diversity by collecting the genomes of "isolated indigenous populations." This book argues that the long abeyance of the Diversity Project points to larger, fundamental questions about how to understand knowledge, democracy, and racism in an age when expert claims about genomes increasingly shape the possibilities for being human. Jenny Reardon demonstrates that far from being innocent tools for fighting racism, scientific ideas and practices embed consequential social and political decisions about who can define race, racism, and democracy, and for what ends.

More information is available here.

 

 

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