The working papers of the ITA
In this series ITA presents its own research results in the form of working papers and publishes contributions of guests of ITA. The articles are refereed internally twice. The responsible editor for ITA is Dr. Georg Aichholzer.
ISSN (online): 1681-9187
- Narodoslawsky, Michael (2014) Utilising Bio-resources: Rational Strategies for a Sustainable Bio-economy. ITA-manu:script 14-02.
Although it is still not warranted to speak about the end of the fossil age, we certainly witness a trend towards renewable sources for energy and material. Properties of bio-resources however differ vastly from fossil as well as other renewable resources. They are storable, mainly de-central in their provision, have usually weak logistic properties and face severe competition from various sectors, in particular from the vital food sector. A stronger reliance on bio-resources to support the European energy system as well as to provide raw materials for conversion to material products therefore raises technical, societal and environmental issues that have to be resolved if a bio-economy is to become a viable development pathway.
- Mager, Astrid (2013) In search of ideology. Socio-cultural dimensions of Google and alternative search engines. ITA-manu:script 13-02.
Google has been blamed for its de facto monopolistic position on the search engine market, its exploitation of user data, its privacy violations, and, most recently, for possible collaborations with the US-American National Security Agency (NSA). However, blaming Google is not enough, as I suggest in this article. Rather than being ready-made, Google and its ‘algorithmic ideology’ are constantly negotiated in society. Drawing on my previous work I show how the ‘new spirit of capitalism’ gets inscribed in Google’s technical Gestalt by way of social practices. Furthermore, I look at alternative search engines through the lens of ideology. Focusing on search projects like DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, YaCy and Wolfram|Alpha I exemplify that there are multiple ideologies at work. There are search engines that carry democratic values, the green ideology, the belief in the commons, and those that subject themselves to the scientific paradigm. In daily practice, however, the capitalist ideology appears to be hegemonic since 1) most users employ Google rather than alternative search engines, 2) a number of small search projects enter strategic alliances with big, commercial players, and 3) choosing a true alternative would require not only awareness and a certain amount of technical know-how, but also effort and patience on the part of users, as I finally discuss.
- Torgersen, Helge; Bogner, Alexander; Kastenhofer, Karen (2013) The Power of Framing in Technology Governance: The Case of Biotechnologies. ITA-manu:script 13-01.
In past technology controversies, aspects such as risk or ethics have played a major role, apart from economic arguments. Public debates on agricultural biotechnology or biomedicine differed in the dominant aspect they addressed, respectively. This article specifies such aspects as discursive frames being tacit agreements over what is relevant and which arguments count. It investigates the role of frames in past debates and the relation between frames and issues relevant for technology governance such as policy advice, public participation and the political legitimation of decisions. For a newly emerging technology such as synthetic biology, the framing of a debate to come is often expected to follow patterns known from previous debates, and to influence governance in a foreseeable way. However, new frames might emerge that could change both the debate on and the governance of emerging technologies.
- Ming, Xiao (2012) e-Participation in Government Decision-Making in China. ITA-manu:script 12-01.
Die Beiträge dieser Sondernummer basieren auf Vorträgen, die unter Beteiligung des ITA im Rahmen des Netzwerks TA auf einem Workshop der Arbeitsgruppe "Technikfolgenabschätzung und Governance" am 21. und 22.11.2011 in Berlin gehalten wurden:
Responsible Innovation: Neuer Ansatz der Gestaltung von Technik und Innovation oder nur ein Schlagwort? (Armin Grunwald) / Technikfolgenabschätzung als Ressource von Technology Governance (Georg Simonis) / Trotz aller Differenzen – Theoretische und empirische Perspektiven auf das Hummel-Paradox der (Technology-)Governance (Marc Mölders) / Leitorientierte Technologiegestaltung als Beitrag zur Umsetzung der Vorsorgeprinzips (Urte Brand, Arnim von Gleich) / Gerhard Fuchs (Zur Governance von technologischen Innovationen im Energiesektor (Gerhard Fuchs)
- Sotoudeh, M.; Peissl, W.; Gudowsky, N.; Jacobi, A. (2011) CIVISTI method for futures studies with strong participative elements. ITA-manu:script 11_03.
Long-term planning with a time-horizon beyond 20 to 30 years is an established element of policy- making in some core fields such as certain infrastructure policies, and is a substantial principle of sustainable development. At the same time short- and medium-term planning is much more usual in the search for ad-hoc solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges. Economic ac- tors apply flexible policies and use short-term opportunities for their profit. Environmental and so- cial problems also sometimes imply short-term solutions for the survival of a system in acute dan- ger. This creates a paradoxical situation: the society in question needs to define long-term targets for its infrastructure and achieves systematic changes pursuing those, but the necessary short-term actions and flexibility applied to stay functionable might not be in line with longterm goals. If this apparent paradox cannot be solved through an appropriate governance method, it might lead to a conflict between different policy goals. The concept of reflexive governance for transition man- agement tries to solve this apparent paradox and combines a number of short-term planning proc- esses in a stagewise and reflexive way to create a more comprehensive and innovative process of long-term planning for a sustainable development. Future-oriented analyses and forward-looking activities are a fix element at each stage. This contribution points out some key questions for a flexible long-term planning process within the framework of sustainable development. The main challenge is how different knowledge types such as citizens’ visions and experts’ recommenda- tions can be integrated into long-term planning in order to support an interactive decision-making process that considers a broader basis of information. CIVISTI, an innovative forward-looking ap- proach, addresses this challenge. The CIVISTI method has been developed during the recent EU- project on Citizen Visions on Science, Technology and Innovation (CIVISTI 2008-2011). In this paper we introduce and discuss this method as a reflexive instrument for integrating different types of knowledge and creating a bridge between short- and long-term planning.
- Aichholzer, G.; Allhutter, D. (2011) Online forms of political participation and their impact on democracy. ITA-manu:script 11_02.
- Braun, E. (2010) The Changing Role of Technology in Society. ITA-manu:script 10_03.
- Degelsegger, A.; Torgersen, H. (2010) Instructions for being unhappy with PTA – The impact on PTA of Austrian technology policy experts´ conceptualisation of the public. ITA-manu:script 10_2.
Participatory Technology Assessment (PTA) is said to increase democratic legitimacy, take up lay knowledge and improve technological solutions. Today it is part of science/technology policy rhetoric and, sometimes, practice. We confront some elements of the scholarly discussion on PTA with policy-makers’ understandings of the process in Austria. Here, participation often gets framed as a form of PR and a sensor for public sentiments rather than as a forum of multiple rationalities and co-development of policy projects. This understanding can be related to underlying conceptions of democracy and the public. As a conclusion, governance styles would have to change before PTA was to become more than a laboratory experiment.
- Aichholzer, G.; Allhutter, D. (2009) e-Participation in Austria: Trends and Public Policies. ITA-manu:script 09-01.
- Leenes, R. (2004) Local e-Government in the Netherlands: from ambitious policy goals to harsh reality, ITA manu:script 04_04 (Dezember), Wien: Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA).
The Netherlands took up e-Government development relatively early and was considered to be one of the leading nations in e-Government developments. In recent years, it has slipped back in the various international benchmarks, and also other signs show that the country no longer is at the front of e-Service development. This paper discusses possible causes for the decline of Dutch e-Service delivery development. Important factors in the explanation can be found in the structure of the Dutch public sector which can be characterized as fairly decentralized. The central government sets ambitious policy goals, but lacks the means to have them realized on the local level which is the primary level at which public service delivery takes place. The municipalities on the other hand are incapacitated by relatively small scale, the large number of services they provide and the lack of real incentives to move service delivery online. As a result, e-Service development on the local level is inefficient and progresses relatively slow. There are signs though that things are changing: the central government takes on a more active stance, and local authorities join forces to develop services together.