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Governing Risk, Engaging Publics, and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social Science?

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    Rights statement: © Harmon, S., Laurie, G., & Haddow, G. (2013). Governing Risk, Engaging Publics, and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social Science?. Science and Public Policy, 40(1), 25-33. 10.1093/scipol/scs117

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
JournalScience and Public Policy
Volume40
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2013
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2013

Abstract

Modern biosciences require governance frameworks capable of simultaneously managing risk, coping with uncertainty, combating ambivalence, and building trust, while encouraging the delivery of those instrumental outputs that we value/demand. This multi-dimensional task makes the design and delivery of good governance frameworks extremely difficult. Efforts to date have, by and large, failed, particularly where the law has been relied on. Preoccupation with risk has tended to shape regulatory systems, but the conception of risk relied on is deficient, and its use is often oriented to support precautionary approaches in the absence of ‘evidence’. Our collaborative efforts lead us to suggest that more robust mechanisms need to be deployed which reveal and promote interactions with a fuller gamut of risks. We argue for a reflexive mode of governance which addresses the dynamic nature of science and uses the law more effectively as a value- and institution-framing mechanism.

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