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New Modernities: Reimagining Science, Technology and Development


  • Sheila Jasanoff


'Development' operates as an allegedly value-neutral concept in the policy world. This essay describes four mechanisms that have helped to strip development of its subjective and meaning-laden elements: persistent misreading of technology as simply material and inanimate; uncritical acceptance of models, including economic ones, as adequate representations of complex systems; failure to recognize routine practices as repositories of power; and erasing history and time as relevant factors in producing scenarios for the future. Failure to take these elements into account has led to inequality, injustice and unintended consequences in many development projects. Interpretive analysis of development tools and concepts is a much-needed corrective.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheila Jasanoff, 2002. "New Modernities: Reimagining Science, Technology and Development," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 11(3), pages 253-276, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev11:ev1114

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    Cited by:

    1. Breyer, Christian & Heinonen, Sirkka & Ruotsalainen, Juho, 2017. "New consciousness: A societal and energetic vision for rebalancing humankind within the limits of planet Earth," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 7-15.

    More about this item


    development; progress; technological determinism; capacity building; science and technology studies;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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