Egenis Seminar with Dr Barbara Prainsack 'Doing Knowledge: Science, practice, and policy making' (drawing upon joint work with Prof Hendrik Wagenaar, Leiden University, NL)
SpeakersDr Barbara Prainsack, Centre for Biomedicine and Society, King's College London
VenueUniversity of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJRoom no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm
This paper is concerned with the relationship between scientific knowledge, practice and public policy. Science is often conceived as contributing to policy in a linear, instrumental way. Although this simplistic view has been criticized since the disappointing contributions of social science to the large “Great Society” programs in the US in the late 1960s, the ideal of such a linear contribution has lived on and reappeared recently in the guise of the increasingly popular evidence-based policy making. While the critique has resulted in more realistic depictions of the possible contribution of science to policy and practice, in this paper we argue that it has nevertheless failed to take action into account. Not only is the neglect of action crucial in sustaining the simplistic view of the relationship between science and policy, it also lies at the root of reframing the science-practice-policy nexus. By discussing the emergence of Personal Genomics (PG), we show that the inclusion of the action dimension in the relation between science and public policy (1) brings concrete actors back into the analysis of science and society; and (2) accentuates a basic continuity between the categories of science and practice, opening ways for a more productive reciprocal exchange of ideas and practices between these domains.