Technology Assessment and Normativity – TAN

Technology always has consequences. How will they be determined?

Technology Assessment always strived to minimize negative and to promote positive consequences from technology implementation. But what is to be called a positive or negative consequence, and for whom?

How can this be established, following which criteria? How can TA deal with normative claims from those who commission a TA study, or from those it is directed at, without jeopardizing its neutrality? Finally, one may ask what the normative framework TA itself operates within is like. After all, there are a number of normative concepts important for TA, such as the common good, sustainability or, more recently, Responsible Research and Innovation.

Furthermore, societal norms that appear self-evident, institutional norms or even personal value orientations of practitioners might influence TA. TAN will shed a light on how TA deals with norms, both inherent or imposed from outside, on the basis of an analysis of concrete case studies. In addition, it will have a look at the practice in other TA institutions across Europe. The aim is to contribute to a more reflective way of dealing with normative claims and requirements in TA.

Good or bad? Technology always has consequences. How will they be determined? (Photo: CC0/ITA)