Science, Etchics and Technological Responsibility in Developing and Emerging Countries
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
€ 183 448,47
Filippo Maria Vinciguerra (Dr.)
Sort by EU Contribution
LABORATORIO DI SCIENZE DELLA CITTADINANZA
€ 228 988
€ 152 515
MINERVA CONSULTING & COMMUNICATION
€ 67 199
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
€ 129 776
MAX DELBRUECK CENTRUM FUER MOLEKULARE MEDIZIN IN DER HELMHOLTZ-GEMEINSCHAFT (MDC)
€ 28 977,53
AFRICAN TECHNOLOGY POLICY STUDIES NETWORK
€ 194 918
UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD
€ 166 157
€ 65 286
CENTRE FOR WORLD SOLIDARITY -CWS
€ 56 260
INTERMEDIA NCG LIMITED
€ 69 952
Grant agreement ID: 217811
1 March 2008
31 May 2011
€ 1 590 047
€ 1 343 477
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Final Report Summary - SET-DEV (Science, ethics and technological responsibility in developing and emerging countries)
The project was intended to confront the ethics and science issues within the broader framework of science-society relationships, with a view to encourage various social actors to assume greater responsibility toward STR.
The project was carried out by a consortium made up of the following Indian, Kenyan and European entities: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - National Research Council of Italy (consortium coordinator); Laboratorio di Scienze della Cittadinanza (LSC) - Laboratory of Citizenship Sciences; Maastricht University; Minerva Consulting & Communication Sprl.; University of Central Lancashire (LBS and CLICT); African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS); Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad; Lund University; Centre for World Solidarity (CWS); Intermedia NCG; Max Delbrück Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC).
To attain its aim the project, through a set of activities of coordination, research, capacity building, dissemination and awareness building carried out in India and Kenya, pursued the following specific objectives:
- to strengthen the levels of information about and awareness of critical issues connected to science and technology by fostering a dialogue among scientists from different parts of the planet (Europe, India and Kenya, but also from other geopolitical areas);
- to enhance the socialisation of research, with particular attention paid to the factors, both national and international, that can facilitate or, on the contrary, hinder the development of scientific and technological research systems (legal frameworks, training systems);
- to activate the processes of building institutional capacities and skills in science, ethics and STR socialisation in leading to greater collective responsibility towards research processes (technological responsibility);
- to develop measures and guidelines that are sensitive to local values and needs and compatible to the characteristics and the degree of development of local research systems;
- to define perspectives of socialisation of science and technology that take into account local needs in a multilateral dialogue which includes European Union (EU) approaches about research, innovation and development.
To attain its objectives this project has implemented an itinerary that consisted of 12 Work packages (WPs) and included the following activities: producing knowledge on STR in India (with a particular focus on Andhra Pradesh) and Kenya; supporting dialogue among research networks from Europe, India and Africa, by means of two 'Manifestos' (for India and Africa respectively ) on the relationship between ethics, democracy, science and development; conducting two pilot programmes in India and Kenya focused on public dialogue and capacity building actions on STR socialisation themes; promoting meetings and seminars on science and ethics and on legal aspects of technology (particularly the relationship between privacy and the Internet); set up a joint programme aimed at promoting multilateral dialogue among the partners and to identify elements of sustainability for the project; preparing and disseminating guidelines on these issues.
The SET-DEV web site is: www.set-dev.eu
Project context and objectives:
The coordination action on SET-DEV aims to support the research systems and to encourage a socialisation of scientific and technological research in India and Kenya. The project started on 1 March 2008 and run for 39 months until 31st May 2011. The project has been coordinated by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and participated by a consortium comprising partners from India, Kenya and Europe.
The objectives of the project have been:
- raising the levels of information and awareness on critical issues connected with science and technology by fostering a dialogue among scientists from India, Africa and Europe;
- to enhance the socialisation of research, in view of the strengthening of local research systems;
- activating processes for building institutional capacities and skills on the themes connected with science, ethics and STR socialisation;
- developing measures and guidelines that are sensitive to local values and needs and compatible to the characteristics and the degree of development of the local research systems;
- defining perspectives of socialisation of science and technology that take in consideration local needs and circumstances in a multilateral dialogue, which includes EU approaches.
SET-DEV outputs are the result of dialogue and cooperation between representatives of three major scientific cultures of the contemporary world: European, Indian and African. For this reason they can provide some indications about the development of scientific and technological research (STR) on our planet. In particular, the major products, manifestos, guidelines, lessons learned and good practices are intended to be a practical contribution about how we can promote effective collective responsibility in science and technology. Furthermore, the SET-DEV three-year experience, has yielded some significant insights on the social fabric of science, and some suggestions on how scientific and technological research can better integrate into society and be more relevant to society's needs.
Changes in science and society and the socialisation of scientific and technological research
Underlying SET-DEV conception is the perception that, albeit in different ways, in all countries on our planet Scientific and technological research (STR), while producing great practical results, remains, paradoxically, at the periphery of economic and social development, and, therefore, risks to remain extraneous to the societies in which such research is carried out or applied. The various aspects and the many consequences of this situation, as well as possible solutions to associated issues, were at the centre of SET-DEV research, networking and capacity building initiatives.
The background that has informed SET-DEV general approach is the theory of socialisation of STR. This theory has its roots in sociology and was developed at the beginning of the last decade in the context of a number of research programmes, some of which were carried out with the financial support of the European Commission. The purpose of these research programmes was to better understand the embeddedness of scientific and technological research in European societies as well as the reasons for the many difficulties in obtaining adequate legitimisation and support that STR faced in Europe. Later this theory has expanded to encompass other parts of the world, as in the case of the SET-DEV project. This theory starts with the assumption that the integration of research into society fails to keep pace with advances in research as many STR actors find it difficult to face up to some profound changes in science and technology that have occurred in the last decades. Such changes concern primarily the so-called 'post-modern' societies, in which knowledge has become a crucial factor of economic life and in which individuals and groups are gaining more and more weight vis-a-vis institutions.
Socialisation theory is also influenced by dramatic changes just in the ways in which science is produced. Until a few years ago, science was essentially governed by the interests of the scientific community, was divided into distinctive disciplines, involved actors who shared a similar culture and belonged to the same type of institutions, was prevalently based on hierarchical relations, and generally was not very much transparent. For some time now we have instead been witnessing a number of changes, which have been interpreted on the whole as the shift to a new mode of science production (that some authors call it 'mode 2'). This change includes an increase of demand for a better contextualisation of STR with regard to the different human realities, as well as for a greater application of research results for innovation. We are also witnessing an increased role of actors - public, private and non-profit - external to the scientific 'establishment', but who have an increasingly important role in orienting the research and its products, together with a demand for the democratisation of the debate on RST policies (as in the SET-DEV 'Manifestos'). These changes result in blurring boundaries between fundamental, strategic and applied research; growing demand for transdisciplinarity; emergence of new functions and professions in areas such as communication, research management, project design and others.
This is the context, which highly industrialised countries, emerging economies and developing countries all share to a certain extent. As a result the foundations, operational modalities and social positioning of scientific and technological research - despite its centrality for economic and social development - is often put into question and tends to be perceived as a sort of "foreign body" in societies, hence the challenge of its better integration in the social fabric of any given context.
The socialisation of STR is not to be regarded as a unitary and linear process, but a composite and multidirectional one. In order to study it, a constructionist approach has been followed by this team, inspired by many contributions that have been produced in the last decades on the social construction of science and technology. The objective was to identify the areas in which actors involved in STR 'construct' relationships between science, technology and society, both on the 'adaptation' side and on the 'identity' side. These areas are named here the 'areas' of STR socialisation.
The areas of STR socialisation
The eight areas of STR socialisation investigated and addressed in SET-DEV are briefly described below. Needless to say these areas are strongly integrated among each other, with some possible overlaps.
The profound changes which occur in science and technology have many manifestations. They influence the manner in which science is understood and applied. There is now a stronger linkage between science and technology and between pure and applied research. Research more and more bears the features of transdisciplinarity. Economic exploitation of scientific results is greater than ever, as well as accountability and transparency of research and linkages with 'external' actors. All this contributes to modifying the social environment of research. Research teams in different institutes have become, in a certain sense, the basic units of knowledge production. They are at the core of the increasing dynamism of scientific research and at the same time are challenged by it.
This first area of STR socialisation thus concerns research practice conducted by research groups in the strict sense, as well as the pressures and opportunities faced by these groups. A number of issues can be identified to this respect, concerning, for example, the management of changes in the way knowledge is produced (especially at the cultural and professional levels), the social and economic status of researchers, the relationship between administrative and management tasks and research work, the control of research quality; the collaboration between different disciplines; the identification of research priorities, access to publishing opportunities, training and career development for young researchers, how to reward merit; external influences on the research world.
A question of fundamental importance here is that of the 'contextualisation' of scientific research in the sense of its adaptation to local needs and cultures. This should be reflected in an attitude to recognise and enhance the socio-cultural diversity of researchers - across classes, casts, gender, ethnic groups, etc. - in scientific institutions. This involves, among other things, as highlighted by knowledge swaraj: An Indian manifesto on science and technology, another SET-DEV output, recognising the pluralistic nature of the expertise and knowledge involved in research, including the know-how of local stakeholders, some of whom may come from the poorest and most marginalised social groups.
Research activities are becoming increasingly complex. For this reason they call for broad and sophisticated management, coordination, promotion and programming skills, which researchers alone cannot achieve unless they take precious time and energy from their research work. In this sense, it is possible to identify a specific area of science and technological research socialisation, which includes the various forms of 'scientific mediation' aimed at promoting or facilitating a productive cooperation among researchers and other key actors inside and outside their research institutions. This may happen, for instance, by improving environmental and organisational conditions in which researchers operate, reducing the administrative activity burden involved in research and fostering the cooperation among different institutions. With respect to ongoing transformations in science and technology, it is possible to identify operationally five domains of scientific mediation:
- governing and managing, including all aspects of the social environment related to management, administration and planning in research institutions, power relations in research institutions and political relations of any kind;
- teaching, including relations referring to certain types of development of teaching activities following the emergence of new needs and tasks, for instance, teaching are more connected to specific production needs;
- networking, including sometimes problematic relations linking scientists and research groups to their community, namely economic actors and enterprises, civil society organisations, professional organisations, social services, local authorities, science centres, intellectual networks, local medias and high schools, as well as scientists belonging to different organisations;
- designing and promoting. This concerns the design and promotion of new research programmes and projects in the context increasingly competitive access to funding;
- managing knowledge - includes the production, exchange, dissemination, manipulation and transfer of scientific knowledge.
Scientific mediation thus represents another important area of STR with such specific issues as managing bureaucratic and administrative aspects of research; fund raising for research; research design; efficiency in the use of the institutions' resources; inter-institutional relations; human resources management.
Scientific communication is another important area of socialisation of STR by virtue of the growing complexity of science and technology production and science-society relations. STR, one could say, is a real "collective enterprise" that can work only by involving a broad set of actors - researchers, politicians, public administrators, disseminators, enterprises, the media.
This collective effort requires extended and widespread communication between all parties involved that operates at many different levels and is no longer limited to the traditional forms of science dissemination. Scientific communication may include:
- communication amongst researchers belonging to the same disciplinary domain or research sector ('intra-epistemic' communication);
- communication between actors coming from different disciplinary domains, often operating in non-academic institutions ('trans-epistemic' communication);
- 'network' communication involving the actors engaged in auxiliary activities with respect to research (managers, evaluators, designers, technical and administrative staff);
- 'social' communication, in which social groups, associations, companies, develop their contribution and their proposals for shaping scientific knowledge, 'political' communication, involving relations between scientific communication and decision-makers;
- 'general' communication concerning the relations between the scientific community and the public opinion.
Scientific communication as a whole can be understood not only as an instrument of dialogue and dissemination, but also a tool that allows building a higher and more widespread responsibility towards research among different social and political actors that have a particular vision of science and technology and, accordingly, a particular attitude or agency towards science and technological research governance. Themes related to science and technological research socialisation of scientific communication include, for instance, overcoming disciplinary and / or organisational isolation of researchers, the (central or marginal) role of research in social life, views of science and technological research by public opinion, the most adequate forms of public debate on STR and its economic and social impacts, the adequacy of science dissemination activities, the capability and will of researchers to dialogue with other social actors; the role of the media in depicting STR.
A fourth area of STR socialisation is the evaluation of science and technology. The role of evaluation grows due to increasing attention that members of society pay to knowledge production, knowledge application and the assessment of the impacts of such application. In this context practices, programmes and measures aimed at ensuring accountability in the world of research are becoming increasingly widespread. At the same time there is broadening of the scope of evaluation to include also objects that traditionally were given little consideration, such as research management, exploitation of STR results, scientific communication, science and technology policy, interaction between university and industry. All this makes evaluation an important instrument both of designing and implementing various types of action, as well as of coordinating the allocation of research funds. In addition, the evaluation activity may be seen as an important learning process for all actors that are involved in it.
In reality, the potential of evaluation remains mainly underutilised. Amongst the key issues there are:
- the slow pace diffusion of the evaluation culture;
- the still restricted domains in which evaluation is applied;
- the type and degree of control exercised on the quality of the various aspects of research;
- ways in which stakeholders can participate in evaluation;
- the link between evaluation and decision-making; the investments that are necessary to implement evaluation programmes;
- the transparency of fund allocation criteria and the recognition of merit and excellence; the adequacy for the specific national contexts of the instruments for evaluating quality and scientific productivity that are used at international level.
Innovation, here considered in broad terms as the use of scientific and technological research results to foster social and economic development, is another key element of STR socialisation. This concerns in particular the interactions between research and the world of production, which are a privileged channel for innovation processes. Such processes also include the economic, social and cultural impacts connected to science and technology, induced or not by policy programmes, measures or actions.
Innovation processes are not linear or easily controllable. They involve various types of actors (researchers, entrepreneurs and farmers, civil society organisations), each one having representations of reality, attitudes and expectations that are not always easy to reconcile with each other and may also belong to different conceptual and epistemic worlds. Thus STR socialisation as far as innovation is concerned may have at least two sides: socialisation of research institutes to innovation and socialisation of enterprises and civil society organisations to research. Themes about STR socialisation in this domain may include: social dialogue between the research and the production worlds on science and technology; the acknowledgement of the importance of innovation by the academia and by the research world in general; the overcoming of cultural, linguistic and organisational barriers between university and industry; the updating of university curricula with innovation-related topics; the involvement of civil society organisations in research-based innovation; the establishment of a financial, legal and organisational context which is conducive for innovation; the social and economic appropriateness of research and technology transfer.
Changes in the relations between science, technology and society require forms of governance of science and technology that are more relevant to the new mode of production of science and open to the involvement of citizens as recognised stakeholders. The notion of governance here is understood as a set of structures and processes for collective decision-making, involving both governmental and non-governmental actors. Governance mechanisms are expected to balance necessity to strengthen science-led innovation with growing demand for democracy in science-related policy making. Moreover, governance may have at its core problematic aspects such as the regulation of the commercial and privatisation drivers, the management of the science and technological research policy agenda, the definition of priority research domains and related funds, the implementation and monitoring of policies, the management of international relations and interferences on national policies and many more. Governance may be considered an important area of science and technological research socialisation. It is a complex process, both from the institutional and cultural point of view, and requires a constant search for the most adequate modalities for taking decisions on such a sensitive subject.
The African manifesto for science, technology and innovation compiled under the auspices of SET-DEV, stresses the importance of promoting and supporting a new and participatory leadership for the governance of this area, with leading roles being played by national and local actors, as well as by pan-African and international stakeholders. For its part, the Indian manifesto on science and technology, which aims to recognise the plurality of expertise and knowledge, highlights the theme of democratisation in the debate on science and technology and research agendas.
Another important area of STR socialisation deals with gender issues in scientific activity. Here three open problems need to be addressed:
- science as an unfriendly environment for women in which a hidden structure of discrimination can often be found;
- science as a gender-insensitive domain (persistence of gender stereotypes identifying science and technology with masculinity, thus risking to lose a fundamental contribute in terms of styles of thinking, visions, fertile imagination and sensibility);
- the under-representation of women in scientific leadership.
Amongst recurring problems the following merit to be included in this area:
- gender 'vertical segregation' which hinders the access of women to top positions in science careers;
- 'horizontal segregation' that points to the uneven concentration of women and men in different scientific domains along gender lines (e.g. women are especially under-represented in 'hard' sciences);
- the 'male-oriented' organisation of career paths; the difficult reconciliation of work and family responsibilities for women researchers;
- the diffusion of stereotypes and cultural constraints referring to gender;
- the gender bias in knowledge production, and so on.
In fact in India and Kenya, as well as in Europe, gender issues in science appeared particularly salient. The decision to identify and analyse this area is not to be interpreted as a consequence of considering gender as a sectoral issue; quite on the contrary, it is the result of deeming it a crucial area for the construction of STR as a whole by research actors.
There is another area of socialisation that was considered especially relevant to the objectives of SET-DEV. In the course of investigating the relationship between science, technology and society in countries with emerging economies or in developing countries a key area of STR socialisation clearly presents itself. It incorporates various aspects influenced by how knowledge stakeholders in these countries position themselves vis-à-vis western science including the peculiarity of national research systems in comparison to those of Western countries, the weight of autochthon scientific traditions, philosophies, spiritual systems and thought paradigms. This area thus refers to the presence of what could be termed 'substantive' approaches, that is, those approaches envisaging a revision of the epistemological, philosophical and cultural foundations of science, on which a critical vision of western science can be drawn. Moreover, substantive approaches are oriented to protect local forms of knowledge and use it to advantage.
In this area the following issues may be seen as potentially problematic:
- risks related to purely imitative approaches in policies and practices in the field of STR, relationship between western science and traditional and / or local forms of knowledge, protection of indigenous knowledge;
- existing perception of science and technology in the framework of national or local philosophical, religious and ethical traditions;
- promotion of self-reliance;
- existence and / or the perception of an 'added value' of one's national research system, when involved in exchange and international cooperation policies;
- relationship between tradition and modernity.
Here, too, the two 'Manifestos' developed as part of SET-DEV in India and Africa strongly underline these issues, by calling everybody's attention on the importance of recognising cultural diversity and different kinds and styles of knowledge, the plurality of scientific imaginations, and the democratisation of the debate on science and technology. Exploring the multiple connections between science and society
Together the areas described above represent a taxonomy of the domains in which science and technological research socialisation processes can take place as processes of construction of the relationship between science and society which allow to detect phenomena which otherwise may be overlooked or not grasped in their entirety. It is important to note that by their very nature these areas are not rigid and inevitably somewhat overlapping.
For each of these areas one can identify:
- 'structural' phenomena, referred to existing social structures the actors cope with (manifesting themselves through social norms, behavioural models, social roles, values), and related obstacles or facilitating factors;
- 'agential' phenomena, referred to the actors and their agency, that is, to their orientation to modify reality, which can translate itself into specific practices.
Through the approach of science and technology socialisation it is possible to outline a profile of relations between science, technology and society in a given country, with the possibility to provide information on relevant situations, critical aspects, risks, paradoxes and opportunities. In this sense, this approach - which is complementary to other theories of the social dimension of science and technology - can be used to understand some aspects of social reality in emerging and developing countries in terms of the relationship between science, technology and society. Moreover, through the study of socialisation of science and technology it is possible to grasp emerging phenomena and social processes which are taking progressively shape. The analytical distinction between different areas of science and technology socialisation, moreover, allows us not only to grasp more clearly the different risks and different opportunities that exist in the relationship between STR and society, but also to identify different policy intervention 'fronts'. This analysis can be used as a knowledge base for targeted action (when necessary), and to coordinate and create synergies in this field.
This approach is capable of reflecting the considerable complexity and multidimensionality of the relationship between science, technology and society. However, in order to achieve this, it has to be adapted to different national and social contexts.
A new local and global responsibility
In view of what was said above, it is clear that a poor adaptation of STR to social contexts and an inadequate control of transformations affecting research can favour the occurrence of the so-called 'technological drift'. This term describes the situation when society increasingly depends on science and technology produced elsewhere, without possessing the capacity to handle, adapt, modify and develop its own science and technology or to steer their use. Consequently, societies face the perspective of reducing their options to imitating the models of growth that may have been developed in a different context and therefore are suboptimal in terms of their contribution to national development.
To confront this risk, in India and in several African countries as well as in other societies worldwide, new strategies and policies are being proposed and put to the test. Some of them have been investigated in the framework of SET-DEV project in India and Kenya. From these and other actions emerges a strong and conscious policy action and the rise of a collective responsibility (one may call it technological responsibility) towards the management and guidance of STR. This is attested also by the Indian and African Manifestos, that represent, together with the guidelines, the main outputs of SET-DEV project: they call for a stronger contextualisation of science, technology and innovation, and for a more participatory management of the policies and projects in this field.
The technological responsibility concerns, in different ways, all actors involved in STR: the researchers themselves, managers and directors of research institutes, national and local decision makers, trans-national organisations and international cooperation, entrepreneurs and business associations, civil society organisations, networks and support and counselling services, the media and many others.
Now, with the growth in importance of science and technology as crucial development factors, the question arises if a new and special class of rights (and related duties and responsibilities) is emerging also in the knowledge area. These rights may concern aspects ranging from stakeholder involvement in defining policy agendas on science and technology up to the participation of beneficiaries in technology transfer, the protection of intellectual property (including the traditional and indigenous one) and above all a complex of rights, duties and responsibilities concerning the generality of citizens. This has to do with what has been called scientific citizenship. In the perspective of technological responsibility suggested above, and if one considers knowledge linked to the dimension of rights and a common good to be preserved, enhanced and exploited to the benefit of all, then the distinction between scientists and lay people, experts and non-experts, no longer makes much sense. It seems more meaningful to speak of a dimension of common citizenship built around 'knowledge', explicated through the exercise of joint responsibility, although at different levels, by the various types of actors.
This exercise of responsibility can have a local, national, and global scope. The innovations produced by STR are, for better or for worse, factors that deeply affect the life of whole communities. This influence is even more significant on a global scale where knowledge in its various manifestations has become the key element not only in the economy, but in actual social interactions and in international relations.
Currently the prevalent scientific paradigms, practices, representations and policies are historically loaded with 'western' (often gender biased) worldviews, styles of thought and criteria for choosing priorities for research. At the same time, some of the countries that are raising in importance in the global scientific and technological arena come from outside the "western" sphere, making it all the more necessary to better understand how this could influence the development of science and technology. This increases the importance of science and technological research socialisation not only for individual societies, but also for the 'global ecumene', to re-legitimise it in a plural world where all sorts of differences interact and mix.
This situation requires that the topic of science and technological research socialisation receives consideration from various cultural and epistemological perspectives. The multilateral dialogue on STR and its relation to society, which has characterised the SET-DEV project, has tried to follow this path.
The knowledge swaraj, an Indian manifesto on science and technology
The Indian manifesto is a HindSwaraj-inspired document for the 21st century. It asks what 'self-rule (swaraj) for India' can mean, one century after Mohandas Gandhi wrote his manifesto for an independent India on board a ship from Europe to Africa. Swaraj today in the 21st century has to include the important domain of self-rule in science and technology too. If Mahatma Gandhi gave prominence to science and technology in the form of law, medicine and railways in the original Hind Swaraj, for the 21st century we see on centre stage: biotechnologies, tribal knowledge, space technology, handloom, information and communication technologies, and ayurvedic medicine. The Manifesto argues for Indian self-rule of its science and technology, for a knowledge democracy that draws its agenda for research and technology on the richness of Indian culture and the needs of the Indian people.
This is a pro-science manifesto-but a manifesto that favours a new form of science. This new science will be better rooted in Indian society than the current standard science and technology. The Manifesto argues how that rootedness can be realised by drawing on a broader range of knowledge systems, by proposing that science should assume trusteeship of society and the world, and by foregrounding the values of sustainability, plurality and justice. This then leads to a new ethics of technoscience, and indeed to a science by and for the people - a knowledge swaraj.
The world today is facing a multi-faceted crisis: a resource crisis signalling the end of the fossil fuel era and the drying up of most modern resources; a climate crisis which almost reached a point of no return; an institutional crisis with an eroding credibility of the state as well as the market; and an economic-financial crisis that questions the received neo-liberal strategies for development of wealth and health. The Manifesto calls for a critical reflection upon the strengths and weaknesses of Indian society and science, and suggests ways to turn these crises into opportunities. It engages with the original Hind Swaraj by recognising a crisis and the need for personal engagement. It asks questions that need to be asked at this critical juncture. The Manifesto is meant as a wake-up call to citizens and scientists alike. It seeks to build a framework for moving from short-term individual fixes to longer-term community solutions.
The Manifesto extends the ideas of swaraj and swadeshi asking what India's own agenda and style of knowledge, science and technology development could be, independent of the dictates of the North and West. This does not imply a plea for isolationism. Just as Gandhi clearly positioned an independent India within the Commonwealth of Nations, so this Manifesto recognises the international character of science; but it adds a realisation of the (partly negative) effects of globalisation and a celebration of the cultural richness of interconnectedness, albeit on equal terms.
The Manifesto seeks to question a blind faith in technology without being Luddite; to restore cultural identity and pride without being chauvinistic; and to outline an ideal of knowledge democracy without the illusion of concrete policy solutions. Gandhi's Hind Swaraj offers an inspiration in 2011 as much as in 1909 for the need to revalue and legitimise peoples' practices. India, Gandhi believed, needs not only to free itself from colonial rule, but has a responsibility to the world to liberate the West from a developmental mindset that alienates people and is deeply unsustainable. As Gandhi has suggested in 1909, we believe that citizens and civil society today can engage in swaraj or self-rule, and inform state processes to reinvent development. In that sense this Manifesto is not just for India, but a modest offering from India to the world.
The Manifesto is written from the perspective of citizens while engaging with science and technology. In doing so, we do not look too much into the past, but try to work towards a normative frame that can help provide a fresher look at India's capabilities and responsibilities. We seek to give the Manifesto an earthy fragrance that draws on concrete experiences of people, and with an innovative spirit that breaks the vicious cycles that many sectors have been trapped in. The Manifesto will present a vision that enthuses those stuck with modest experimentation to paint a wider canvas, and in that process to restore dignity to the majority who are vulnerable victims and yet potential champions of a new and sustainable knowledge society. Indian citizens are thus seen as active contributors in the knowledge society and not as mere recipients of products of science and technology. This Manifesto is about innovation - an innovation that is rooted in communities.
The Manifesto addresses the three key dimensions of justice, sustainability and plurality. Justice is taken - not given - and is conditional on democratisation of governance with the informed participation of all. The Manifesto's understanding of sustainability is long term, with emphasis on universal human rights with access to food, health and education, and focus on reduction of vulnerability of the under-privileged. Recognising plurality begins by the realisation that there are multiple knowledge systems and different kinds of experts as opposed to the conventional division of experts and non-experts. The Manifesto takes cognisance of the existence of a large number of marginalised people who have the capacity to significantly contribute to the development of society, including its science and technology, but are currently excluded from this process.
The Manifesto is intended for three different readerships. First it is written for a general audience of citizens, school children, students, and scholars: a foundational argument about the character of knowledge, science and technology and about the opportunities for self-rule of these. Second, it is meant as a wake-up call for scientists and activists; to scientists it makes a plea to value the social embedding of science and technology in society, and to activists it makes a plea to engage in the social construction of science and technology. Third, this Manifesto speaks to policy makers and (admittedly rather implicitly) suggests new forms of a pro-active science policy for the people and by the people.
The Manifesto starts by arguing for a plurality of knowledge and expertise. It then seeks to situate some of the debates from social movements that have contributed significantly to shaping the discourse on knowledge and democracy arguing for alternative scientific imaginations rooted in non-violence. It argues for the need to add the notion of trusteeship to the social contract on science in India. Conclusions are drawn to indicate how a swaraj of science and technology will yield justice, sustainability and plurality.
The African manifesto for science technology and innovation
The African manifesto is a tool for shaping shared visions about science, technology and innovation in Africa, for Africans, by Africans, in a multi-lateral dialogue. It makes a case for Africa's sovereignty in science, technology and innovation and argues for full socialisation and democratic governance of science, technology and innovation in Africa as a pre-requisite for sustainable development in Africa. The Manifesto believes that by harnessing science, technology and innovation African countries have a greater chance of addressing poverty, diseases and environmental destruction efficiently and sustainably. It provides a shared vision of a world in which the unheard voices; marginalised majority and the marginalised cultures and traditions of science, technology and innovation in Africa can be mobilised for African development. It is a call for diverse and fairly distributed forms of STI as a valid and timely way to embed STI in African societies. This is a shift towards greater respect for cultural variety, regional diversity, and democratic accountability in science, technology and innovation governance in Africa. To achieve this vision would require transformational changes in the current global STI agenda, the social inequity it creates, and the knowledge dependence that has informed and shaped Africa's exclusion in the global science, technology and innovation development. It is however the responsibility of the African peoples and their leaders to shape Africa's own science, technology and innovation agenda, funding strategies, capacity development programs, organisational reforms and develop its own rules for effective but contextualised criteria for monitoring, evaluation and accountability. To be effective, these tools must be fully embedded in Africa's societies, cultures and human experiences. African governments need to proactively engage in and better understand the geopolitics of science, technological advances and innovation in the global knowledge economy, and proactively take ownership and effective leadership of the STI policy processes in Africa for African development.
So, however similar some of the historical, economic, social, and environmental features of Africa may seem, it is just too vast a continent for any generalisations about it to hold. This calls for a more disaggregated and context specific recommendations at the national, regional and continental scales. The African manifesto for science, technology and innovation is a measured call for collective action at the continental level while providing templates for disaggregated and democratic governance of science, technology and innovation at the regional and national scales. Africa must stand together to rebuild confidence in home grown science, technology and innovation, build sustainable infrastructures for sustainable science, technology and innovation development to improve its global competitiveness, and translate the rhetoric of the past two decades to relevant actions to regain her sovereignty in the governance of STI for African development.
The African Manifesto is a vision of African visions, a dream of African dreams and a tool for African development through self-rule in science, technology and innovation. It envisions a new renaissance in science, technology and innovations for Africans, by Africans in Africa and in the Diaspora. This vision calls for Africa to generate, master and utilise scientific and technological knowledge for sustainable development of Africa. It calls for Africa to take leadership and full control of that knowledge, technology and innovations required for African development. This vision builds on the conviction that if political sovereignty is necessary, scientific sovereignty is even more important in present day Africa. The development of science, technology and innovation in its own African terms is critical to Africa's sustainable development and to its inclusion in the global world order. To achieve the vision, Africa must embark on transformational changes in how STI is socially defined, prioritised, constructed, funded, communicated, monitored and evaluated in Africa and for African development. The following specific actions are recommended:
1. Reject knowledge dependence, i.e. the idea that existing international division of labour is science and technology is adequate for development. The system whereby STI knowledge is predominantly generated in and funded by the global North can only led to 'the global South 'remaining a perpetual 'appendage' to the global economy, as 'consumer ', not 'producers' in the new knowledge economy.
2. Encourage bottom-up innovation and democratic governance of science, technology and innovation in Africa for African development. More inclusive forms of knowledge generation and knowledge circulation in which the voices of the African is treated with equal respect irrespective of social or academic status, incomes, gender, country, race or religion, or age.
3. Encourage new forms of science, technology and innovatoin in Africa, focusing on poverty reduction, inclusive wealth and environmental sustainability and respect for the diversity of knowledge systems in Africa, while taking into account global policy priorities. Local needs and priorities should drive the STI agenda within the context of global agendas and not vice versa.
4. Encourage new forms of STI monitoring and evaluation, and inclusive incentive structures: Develop alternative matrices for the evaluation of STI taking into account international standards as well as local relevance.
5. Encourage coordination and collaboration: through formation of National Systems of Innovation (NSI) platforms to foster innovation through collaboration amongst the relevant governments Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals and amongst the quadruple helix.
6. Full Socialisation of STI in Africa: create policy environments to espouse the principles of self-rule, African ownership, and democratic governance of science and technolgoy research prioritisation processes and policies in Africa by for African development.
These recommendations can be translated into specific calls for action for specific people in the African society and the international community. These calls to action targeting specific stakeholders: African Governments, African scientists, African private sector, African civil society, Africans in diaspora, as well as development partners will be published separately.
The policy guidelines: frames of responsibility, practical options, lessons learnt
As is clear from what has been said so far, it is from the standpoint of collective responsibility for STR that the SET-DEV project interpreted the relationship between ethics and science.
Following the above approach, the SET-DEV activities and outputs were analysed to see if guidelines could be formed to improve the relationship between science, technology and society through greater accountability of the political, social, and economic actors and, of course, researchers themselves.
To do this, we tried first, to identify in all the documentation produced by the project partners and for each of the eight STR socialisation areas the major recurrent risks for both society (in its relationship with research) and for research itself. By grouping these risks together (as coherently as possible and with some degree of conventionality), a series of frames of responsibility were identified, regarding, for example, a dialogue between researchers and citizens, democratisation of science and technology decision making, research infrastructures, the relationship between modern science and other forms of knowledge.
By frame of responsibility we mean a set of risks and challenges for science and technological research and its relationship to society, for which it is essential to take a stand, make a commitment (at a personal ethical level and as regards the choices of the community) and especially to act in terms of strategy, policies and concrete actions on the ground. By identifying and formalising a frame of responsibility we can find solutions that make sense for the relation between science, technology and society.
The frames of responsibility outlined here are not systematic or exhaustive in character, nor are they prescriptive. They emerged from the tri-lateral dialogue, and concern, albeit in different ways, India, Africa and Europe.
For each of the frames of responsibility a set of practical options was also identified. A practical option is a concrete action that can be taken to strengthen science and technology in its relationship with society. All the practical options proposed were either implemented and tested by SET-DEV partners in their own activities, or observed by them while implemented by third parties, or reported in literature as significant. Although the practical options outlined here are not exhaustive or systematic, SET-DEV partners believe that they could have significance beyond the contexts in which they were identified and formalised. For all these reasons, they are presented in the form of a 'catalogue' (admittedly limited and with a degree of repetition or overlap).
As said before, while frames of responsibility and practical options (even if formulated in reference to SET-DEV experiences in India and Kenya / Africa) may have a general significance outside these contexts, some specific lessons learnt were also formulated by Indian and Kenyan partners for the Indian and Kenyan readers, for each of 8 areas of STR socialisation.
Assuring the respect for local cultures in promoting and regulating new technologies (internet and privacy
The role of law as an instrument of policy is often taken for granted with the result that insufficient resources, time or preparation are allocated to the regulatory regime which would permit a successful science, technology and innovation policy to flourish. The law may be used in a number of ways:
- to provide the right competitive environment which is conducive to industrial investment and development in science, technology and innovation;
- to provide safeguards for the vast majority of citizens affected by the impact of STI on everyday life;
- to promote and protect the individual and collective interests of members of minority groups whose culture forms an unique part of the fabric of a given society;
- to be a primary tool of business process re-engineering in any given part of a social context including science, technology and innovation.
The research and dialogue created under two experimentations on technology-driven rules in Andhra Pradesh (India) and Kenya revealed elements of both bottom-up sentiment and top-down action when considering privacy and technology-driven law. The empirical research within indigenous communities revealed an interest in privacy independent of, yet occasionally related to, technological change. Indigenous peoples in rural areas share concepts of public and private uses of physical space with their urban counterparts although some local differences may be observed between different communities. Likewise, the widespread use of mobile telephones seems to have brought with it a modicum of etiquette related to their use: many people, rural or urban move some distance away when using a mobile phone and generally express a desire not to be overhead when speaking on such a device. When in July 2010 the Kenyan Government attempted to impose compulsory registration of SIM cards for mobile phones there was a considerable outcry in the Kenyan press and the implications of such a measure for privacy were openly debated. The same measure provoked just as much debate when in July 2010 during SET-DEV fieldwork it was aired in a village conclave in a rural setting where no electricity supply is available and where literacy is less widespread than urban areas and where the media especially TV and newspapers do not have widespread penetration. The August 2010 constitutional change in Kenya reinforcing and extending the constitutional right to privacy in the information age may be viewed as a positive step. Its sources and inspiration however appear to have been more Western than autochthonous. The SET-DEV September 2010 Kenya conference revealed that a number of Non-governmental organisation (NGO)s and industry representatives lobbied the drafters of the constitution and obtained some significant advances but these were made on the basis of comparison with existing Western legislation and not by investigation of local wishes, customs and traditions. The SET-DEV team's field-work with five indigenous peoples in Kenya (Ogiek, Samburu, Pokot, Turkana and Giriama) confirmed that members of these communities are sensitive to many elements of 'private and family life' and indeed that many areas of sensitivity are prima facie shared with their urban as well as their Western counter-parts. Sexual and body activity, intimate family relationships, business dealings and their use of modern mobile communications technology would appear to be governed by sentiments of privacy not dissimilar to those of urban dwellers in most other societies. Local traditions may have resulted in information about some activities (e.g. initiation rites or political beliefs) being more or less closely guarded than in urban or in Western societies but these local differences are small in comparison to the similarities in attitudes to information policies that these peoples have. The impact of economic circumstances on privacy remain those well known in research literature over the centuries: where scarcer financial resources compel families and larger communal units to live in relatively confined spaces the opportunities for and expectations of privacy appear to be somewhat lessened though the 'basics' never disappear altogether. Indeed, some of the research results suggest very tentatively that the arrival of new technologies such as mobile telephony and mobile internet permit the creation of new virtual space that acts as an extension of physical space and this is greeted with some joy by certain sectors like some women and youth who rejoice in the achievement of a space not as closely controlled by their men folk or older generations (who on occasion, depending on the society, may dictate anything from voting during political elections to whom and how they do business with).
While empirical research with indigenous peoples within SET-DEV experimentations revealed various forms of concerns with privacy at grass-root level, there seems to be a disconnect with mechanisms for reflecting such concerns at legislative and other policy making levels. There does not appear to be a structured way of examining traditional attitudes to privacy (or other personal and societal values) across various ethnic and indigenous groups within the country and then using evidence-based research to back up or otherwise inform the legislative and other policy-making processes which would e.g. provide for protecting and promoting privacy in social context marked by rapid technological change. This disconnect was investigated at first hand in Kenya and only through literature and interview in India but the situation in both countries would seem to be largely comparable i.e. the divides between urban and rural areas are replicated in the extent to which the views and cultures of indigenous peoples are taken into account in those areas where these cultures may be impacted by technological change. It would appear to be a matter of sound policy to institute mechanisms which would systematically measure cultural attitudes and traditions across both rural and urban contexts in such a way so as to then permit the impact of technological change to be more accurately forecast and provided for and introduce technology-related legislation which reflects and respects national sentiment and traditions while allowing for compatibility with external and especially western legislative standards.
Another finding incidental to the research on privacy but thought to be of significant value is that of the relationship between other aspects of culture and the impact of technological change. The impact of media, internet and telephony on local languages and dialects and the possible use of such technologies in the preservation of indigenous languages, oral and musical traditions does not seem to have attracted as much attention as may be expected. The development of regional and national policies for the use of technology for the preservation and promotion of indigenous cultures seem to be under-resourced and sporadic at best. Quite understandably other issues like land-ownership and land use, water management, agricultural productivity, food-procurement, education and health care provision and the related role of modern technologies enjoy much greater priority. In this as in other areas Maslo's hierarchy reigns supreme: only after basics such as security and food are satisfied does one detect any energy and resource left available for promotion and prevention of indigenous cultures or individual privacy.
1. Each emerging country may be well advised to create an inter-disciplinary 'team of teams' to examine, measure and advise about impact and take-up of new technologies by indigenous peoples. This inter-disciplinary / multi-disciplinary team should include anthropologists, sociologists, technology law specialists and representatives of indigenous peoples.
2. These multi-disciplinary teams should aim to use standard methodologies to establish relative cultural values, gauge awareness and attitude of indigenous peoples to new technologies.
3. Using inputs from the teams indicated above identify and / or create fora wherein cultural values, awareness and attitudes of indigenous peoples are incorporated into wider-policy-making and legislative process.
4. Use teams to report feedback about new policy and legislative developments to indigenous peoples, preserve and promote cultural elements using new technologies and also devise and maintain regular measurement of technology impact on these communities.
5. Use teams to devise and deploy technology-enabled solutions which may help bridge urban-rural divides especially in areas like education, health-care and agriculture.
Overview of SET-DEV broad results and potential impacts
SET-DEV potential impacts are related to its vision that research must be seen and understood within its social fabric. The project in fact has promoted the awareness of the embeddedness of science (and technology) in society, following the assumption that as it is unthinkable in the modern world to have a society without incorporating science and technology, it is equally necessary to realise that science and technology are socially interpreted and constructed. Following this approach, SET-DEV activities, both on the analytical and the proactive side, were geared to recognise and engage the diverse actors in society, who not only pose challenges to scientific research, but also interact with science in multiple ways to shape the directions that research is taking in trying to respond to those very challenges and drive the general scientific development. To this purpose the process to formulate the two Manifestos for India and Africa and the guidelines on STI socialisation have been of paramount importance. So the first broad impact of the project can be found in the capacity to mobilise diverse actors - from scientists to decision makers, from the CSOs and local communities to entrepreneurs - in India and Africa in advocating and exercising what has been called a shared 'technological responsibility' and which can be the societal base supporting that 'responsible research' proposed by the project in line with EC orientation. This exercise of responsibility has been facilitated by experimenting in India and Kenya advanced forms of social dialogue (making the most of diverse forms of expertise and perspectives) on the orientation of scientific research and technological innovation. Some of these pilot initiatives, and the related science-civil society networks have been consolidated thanks to the initiative of the Indian and Kenyan partners with the support of some European partners and will remain active as institutional programs of such organisations.
Such approach can apply both to curiosity-driven research and agenda-driven activities that in this frame appear more and more interconnected. In fact SET-DEV research activities and the Indian and Kenyan pilot programmes have demonstrated the productivity of combining community based (and community relevant) research with research pursuing broad, cutting-edge scientific programs. The project has conversed with leading decision makers in India, Kenya and other African countries to rise their awareness that research programs can, at the same time and productively, be locally rooted and globally connected, provoking a rich interaction among a plurality of diverse knowledge systems. Some case studies have successfully argued that societal challenges can be better translated into researchable problems by interacting with the concerned communities. So the project has experienced very concrete cases of a participatory way of generating innovation. In this regard also mechanisms have been singled out in the through which research needs expressed at local level can be taken into consideration for broader action and funding. These lessons or practical options are collected and proposed in the guidelines and the pilot programme handbooks and can be further exploited by concerned actors adjusting them to context specific needs. Specific follow up measures are foreseen to assure their dissemination and experimentation (see below points 4.4 and 4.5).
Project public website: http://www.set-dev.eu/
Grant agreement ID: 217811
1 March 2008
31 May 2011
€ 1 590 047
€ 1 343 477
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Deliverables not available
Publications not available
Grant agreement ID: 217811
1 March 2008
31 May 2011
€ 1 590 047
€ 1 343 477
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Grant agreement ID: 217811
1 March 2008
31 May 2011
€ 1 590 047
€ 1 343 477
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE