Good intentions: Expectations of benefit from technoscience innovation: genetic modification and wind energy in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosphy
New developments in science and technology are promoted through projections of anticipated benefit that justify research, help secure funding and institutional, political and public support, and encourage technology diffusion. This thesis explores the strategic influence of constructs of expected benefit through analysis of the claims advanced for two technology fields in New Zealand: genetic modification and wind energy. The ways benefits are framed, and the kinds of returns and outcomes that are promoted, have major implications for technoscience. Some technology pathways and applications are supported and fostered, while others are rejected or marginalised.
The “downstream” impacts and potential risks of scientific innovation have received extensive academic and policy analysis, while the benefits claimed for R&D and new technologies have largely been taken for granted. However, science and technology futures have recently been addressed in an emerging field of international scholarship – the sociology of expectations. This thesis follows technoscience trajectories back “upstream”, to better understand the work of benefit framings in legitimating and valorising innovation in two sectors in New Zealand. Understanding the dynamics of such optimistic projections is crucial for publics, interested groups, practitioners and policy-makers engaging with the challenges of contemporary technoscience.