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Political experiments that matter: Ordering democracy from experimental sites

Abstract : Some recent work in STS has discussed various forms of ‘political experiments’. But why and how do experiments matter, and for whom? Answering these questions requires that one leave the locality of the experimental site and account for the construction of wider spaces wherein experiments matter. Using examples related to the public debate on, critique and government of nanotechnology in France, the article identifies three of these spaces. The first one is characterized by the replication of technologies of participation, the second by the conduct of radical critique, and the third by the constitution of objects of government. Overall, the description of these spaces helps describe the current (and incomplete) transformation of French democracy, as the public administration attempts to include new elements, such as ‘citizens as locals’ or ‘substances in a nanoparticulate state’, in the French polity. Thus, the study of political experiments proposed here offers analytical entry points for an examination of democratic ordering.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 9:49:47 AM
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Brice Laurent. Political experiments that matter: Ordering democracy from experimental sites. Social Studies of Science, SAGE Publications, 2016, 46 (5), pp.773-794. ⟨10.1177/0306312716668587⟩. ⟨hal-01430595⟩



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