11 May 2016, Vienna, Austria
On 11 May 2016, the PROSO partner OeAW hosted the workshop “Contemporary experiences with societal engagement under the terms of RRI” at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. The workshop brought together a variety of academic experts, i.e. scholars involved in the conceptualization and advancement of RRI as well as from the area of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and representatives of funding agencies in Austria, The Netherlands and the UK to discuss how societal engagement should be (re-)conceptualized in the context of RRI.
In vivid discussions the participants reflected on the basic requirements for societal engagement under the terms of RRI and shared current experiences with societal engagement under RRI in Europe. The discussions particularly revolved around a) the understanding of societal engagement as “invited” participation with the risk of marginalizing conflicts, b) the demand that societal engagement includes two-way deliberation rather than one-way communication and c) the role of societal engagement in the RRI approach as either a means for ensuring responsiveness or a core principle changing science-society relations. Moreover participants strongly debated on whether and how the science system has to transform in order to normalize societal engagement. Overall, the workshop showed that what counts as “responsible” and how engagement is understood and fostered might be contested in a pluralist society and, among others, strongly depends on the political context and culture.
If you are interested in the results of the PROSO expert workshop in detail, you may download the workshop report here.