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Epistemic Communities Facing a New Type of Agora? Centres of Science, Technology and Innovation as Defining the New Research Landscape in Finland


  • Seppo Poutanen


  • Anne Kovalainen



We analyse the question of what role and positions epistemic communities have in the agora, and more specifically in the new mediating organizations that are established at the interface of the state, businesses and universities. These new organizational structures embody the present politics of knowledge that reign in national science policy globally. The new organizational structures, as potentially new agoras, also epitomize several of the changes that have taken place in the science and industry landscape of the past decades all over Europe and the world. We are interested in understanding how epistemic communities are situated vis-à-vis agora in knowledge production. The empirical example comes from Finland, where major new institutional reforms in science policy, the new strategic centres of science, technology and innovations, have been implemented to create possibilities for new knowledge creation and new product and service development. These centres of science, technology and innovations (CSTIs) were originally planned as functioning agoras, open, simultaneous and joint platforms for the state, businesses, researchers and universities. In the article we show how the organizational structure and decision making processes adopted in the CSTIs have changed the original idea of agora, thus changing also the position of epistemic communities involved. In the process, we evaluate Nowotny's interpretation of agora.

Suggested Citation

  • Seppo Poutanen & Anne Kovalainen, 2010. "Epistemic Communities Facing a New Type of Agora? Centres of Science, Technology and Innovation as Defining the New Research Landscape in Finland," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 15(2), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2009-78-2

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