Collingridge and the dilemma of control: Towards responsible and accountable innovation

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The paper critically reviews the work of David Collingridge in the light of contemporary concerns about responsibility and accountability in innovation, public engagement with science and technology, and the role of scientific expertise in technology policy. Given continued interest in his thoughts on the ‘social control of technology’, and the ‘dilemma of control’, this attention is both timely and overdue. The paper illuminates a mismatch between the prevalence of citations to Collingridge's work on the dilemma of control in the literature on responsible innovation, and the depth of engagement with his arguments. By considering neglected aspects of Collingridge's substantive, methodological and philosophical analysis, important implications can be drawn for theory and practice relating to the governance of innovation and co-evolution between technology and society. The paper helps to improve understandings of wider political contexts for responsible innovation, especially in relation to anticipatory, participatory and institutional aspects of governance.




Genus, A., & Stirling, A. (2018). Collingridge and the dilemma of control: Towards responsible and accountable innovation. Research Policy, 47(1), 61–69.

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