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Constructive Technology Assessment and Socio-Technical Scenarios

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Uploaded by RRI Tools on 27 September 2016

Rip, A., and H. te Kulve (2008). Constructive Technology Assessment and Sociotechnical Scenarios. In The Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society, Volume I: Presenting Futures (E. Fisher, C. Selin, J.M. Wetmore eds.), Berlin, Springer, pp. 49- 70.

Since the 1980‟s, Arie Rip has been instrumental in developing and applying an approach to broaden the scope of participants and considerations that go into technological developments that is known as Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA). A number of organizations have employed CTA, including the Rathenau Institute (formerly, the Netherlands Office of Technology Assessment). Since 2005, the Dutch national nanotechnology consortium, NanoNed, has under Rip‟s coordination included CTA as a program component.

In this chapter of The Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society, Rip and te Kulve suggest that because many nanotechnology applications remain little more than promises, studying their implications amounts to an exercise in “social science fiction.” To address this challenge, they employ socio-technical scenarios. Scenarios are a well-established foresight method that are gaining wide use in the study of nanotechnology. The authors are interested in linking theory and practice and thus describe two scenario construction frameworks that take into account complex and often overlooked socio-technical dynamics. CTA scenarios can accordingly serve as “useful fictions” for strategic purposes as well as for modulating ongoing socio-technical change.

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