Governing technoscience and society

Technoscientific knowledge has become crucial to the governance of contemporary societies on different levels, ranging from geopolitical decision-making processes on climate change to everyday contexts in which people use knowledge to shape and decide on issues relating to their bodies and lives.

This raises important challenges for understanding and re-defining democracy and democratic practices in the context of knowledge societies. It is important to understand the development and role of regulatory and legal structures around technoscientific issues, to chart shifting valuing practices (e.g. the growth of the importance of ethics and assessment cultures), and to explore new forms of self-governance demanded from citizens.

Our department’s research addresses how societies make sense of and regulate emerging technologies, the making and functions of techno-scientific futures in governing societies, the impact of research & innovation policies on research cultures, the role of public participation in wider governance processes, and how individuals use knowledge to make decisions, in particular connected to health and the internet.

Key Publications

Felt, Ulrike, Felder, Kay, Penkler, Michael (2016): How differences matter: tracing diversity practices in obesity treatment and health promotion. Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. 38 No. 5.


Metzler, Ingrid (2016) “Human life between biology and law in Germany”. in: Sergei Prozorov and Simona Rentea (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Biopolitics (London/New York: Routledge): pp. 295-312.


Aarden, Erik (2015). Constitutions of Justice in Genetic Medicine: Distributing Diagnostics for Familial Hypercholesterolemia in Three European Countries. Critical Policy Studies, 1-19


Aarden, Erik, Boon, Wouter, & Broerse, Jacqueline (2015). Path creation by public agencies — The case of desirable futures of genomics. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 67-76. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.06.038


Felder, Kay, Felt, Ulrike, Penkler, Michael (2015) 'Caring for Evidence. On the Intertwinement of Research and Care in an Obesity Outpatient Clinic.' Medical Anthropology: 1-15. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2015.1101100


Felt, Ulrike (2015) 'Social Science Expertise in European Policy Innovation Policy'. In  Wilsdon, James and Doubleday, Robert (eds), Future Directions of Scientific Advice in Europe (Cambridge: Center of Science in Policy): 113-122.


Felt, Ulrike and Fochler, Maximilian (2012) 'Re-ordering Epistemic Living Spaces: On the Tacit Governance Effects of the Public Communication of Science', in Rödder, S., Franzen, M. and P. Weingart (eds), The Sciences' Media Connection – Communication to the Public and its Repercussions. Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook 28 (Dortrecht: Springer): 133-154.