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Public Underst Sci. 2012 May;21(4):447-64.

Science, governance, and public participation: an analysis of decision making on genetic modification in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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Political Science and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences,The University of Waikato, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand


The acceptance of public participation in science and technology governance in liberal democratic contexts is evident in the institutionalization of a variety of mechanisms for participation in recent decades. Yet questions remain about the extent to which institutions have actually transformed their policy practice to embrace democratic governance of techno-scientific decision making. A critical discourse analysis of the response to public participation by the Environmental Risk ManagementAuthority (ERMA), the key decision-making body on genetic modification in Aotearoa/New Zealand, in a specific case demonstrates that ERMA systematically marginalized concerns raised by the public about risk management, ethics, and ecological, economic, and cultural issues in order to give primacy to a positivist, technological worldview. Such delegitimization of public perspectives pre-empts the possibility of the democratic governance of science.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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