“Response-able Practices” or “New Bureaucracies of Virtue”: The Challenges of Making RRI Work in Academic Environments

Ulrike Felt

In recent years, “Responsible Research and Innovation” (RRI) has become a new buzzword at the core of European science policy discourses and beyond. Using a narrative approach, this paper aims to explore how academic researchers can potentially make sense of RRI and turn it into an academic core value. Narratives on research and its relation to society drawn from different sources in the Austrian context will be used to reflect on how they contribute to creating shared meaning, participate in the constitution of a broader sense of direction and valuation, and enable or constrain researchers’ actions. Using epistemic living spaces and narrative infrastructures as key-sensitizing concepts, the paper identifies and elaborates on three main narrative clusters that collectively frame the ways in which researchers can make sense of their work and engage with questions of RRI. In conclusion, this allows identifying the potential resistances RRI might encounter, the research still to be done in order to understand the dynamics at work and the work needed to support developing the concept’s full potential.

Department of Science and Technology Studies, Research Platform Responsible Research and Innovation in Academic Practice
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Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Social studies of science
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