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The politics of displacements. Towards a framework for democratic evaluation


  • Roel Nahuis



The confrontation of values and interests and an impact in the public realm constitutes a broadly recognised political dimension of technological innovation processes. There is, however, a gap between empirical research into these politics of innovation and normative research into their democratic evaluation. Especially methods for evaluating the democratic quality of dynamic and non-formal forms of innovation politics are lacking. This paper aims to fill the gap by developing a framework for analysing the politics of innovation in terms of displacements of issues. Its first part reviews different theoretical approaches and concludes that decision-making about design and use generally takes place in a multitude of settings and that this circumstance calls for theoretical investigation of displacements between settings. In the second part, the notions of ‘issue’, ‘setting’, and ‘displacement’ are further elaborated and related to one another. A conceptual framework is construed that is suggested to be helpful in the democratic evaluation of the politics of displacements. The paper ends with a reflection on the applicability of recently developed democratic criteria. Because these criteria are devised for proceduralised and static decision-making processes, they needed to be reduced to three democratic principles that are general enough to capture local variation and specific enough to make a difference between good and bad politics.

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  • Roel Nahuis, 2008. "The politics of displacements. Towards a framework for democratic evaluation," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 08-09, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Feb 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0809

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
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