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Session Overview
PS-1.06: Science, technology, innovation policy and politics 2
Wednesday, 12/Oct/2016:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Kavitha Pottammal, Centre for Development Studies
Discussant: Arlindo Villaschi, Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo
Location: Caesar Room (Homann)

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Revisiting the Discourse on Islam, Science and Innovation: A National Innovation System Perspective

Bi Bi Ishrat Hassan


Why does the Muslim world lag behind in innovations and knowledge production? Why Arab states in particular and other Muslim countries in general have lost their interest in exploration and experimentation? Has Islam really ‘exercised a retardative influence’ on scientific and innovative activity as is argued by many? Has innovations really ‘fallen under suspicion as bid’a or heresy’? Or it is the ‘systemic’ and ‘institutional’ failure which is actually impeding the process of innovation and holding back the Muslim states? This paper tries to dwell on the plight of this unhealthy ‘innovation scenario’ among the Muslim countries. And attempts to deconstruct some accepted ‘myths’ created against Islam and its stance towards innovation and knowledge production. The popular perception that "new knowledge and ideas have fallen under suspicion as bid'a or heresy" in Islam is questioned here and ‘Islam’s innate hostility to innovations’ challenged. We, however, propose that it is the ‘system’ and institutional’ failure which is holding back Muslim states from ‘innovations’. This paper further argues that alone allocating money for R&D and building STI infrastructure in Muslim world will not unleash innovations unless institutional stability, democracy is not guaranteed. We argue that along with building infrastructure and spending money, the focus however should also be on strengthening the basic institutions which help develop a robust innovation system.

Passivity, Utilitarianism and Techno-Determinism in Science and Technology Policy

Paulo Savaget Nascimento

University of Cambridge (UK) and Fundação Dom Cabral (Brazil)

Evolutionary theories – such as catching-up and innovation systems – share utilitarian assumptions, upholding that whatever that contingently emerges from science and technology will necessarily serve the public good. These theories are also techno-deterministic, often implying an unavoidable, infinite pursuit of economic growth. Society is portrayed as passive and largely unable to influence progress, and technical knowledge is treated as unitary and conflict-free. As a consequence, passivity, utilitarianism and techno-determinism are persistent characteristics, embedded in science and technology theory and practice. This leads to political decisions obscuring conflicting interests and values, neglecting the existence of multiple and equally-viable pathways for development, and denying socially-inclusive deliberative choices about policy strategies. This article presents a critique to these characteristics of science and technology policy theory and practice, aiming at stretching innovation theory to accommodate concepts dealing with different dimensions of uncertainty in decision-making, social construction of knowledge, and sustainability. This effort helps to pluralize innovation studies, both by attributing more rigor to assessments and design of science and technology policies, and by fostering more socially inclusive and democratically accountable political decisions.

Counterbalancing Hegemony of Mainstream Journalism Through Citizen Journalism

Feri Ferdinan Alamsyah

Universitas Pakuan Bogor, Indonesia

In Indonesia, the hegemony of mainstream journalism clearly visible especially when the media broadcasting live footage events of 2014 presidential election. The media implied that the information broadcasted puts more weight to certain party. It shows as if the media taking sides by carrying certain interest. This broadcast practise in contrary to the spirit of journalism which supposed to be in serve for public interest.

This study focuses on how citizen journalism can counterbalance the hegemony of mainstream journalism.

Through the theory of social construction from Berger and Luckmann, citizen journalism constructed simultaneously with aspects of externalization, objectivation and internalization. That citizens or society could apply citizen journalism on the basis willing to share, which run continuously, so it becomes a habit and finally the society has certain purport against him that have concern for the situation surrounding.

Citizen journalism is an activity to collect, process and communicate information through public areas, both virtual and conventional. This activity is carried out by citizens that are laymen and amateurs to the activity.

Citizen journalism can counterbalance the hegemony of mainstream journalism. He gave alternative information to the public about an event. In addition, citizen journalism also supplements the information had not submitted the mainstream mass media, so that the information is displayed in full.

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