chapter  1
8 Pages

Knowledge, Politics and Governance

By talking about governance, we are not talking about top-down decision-making since we have moved beyond traditional notions of hierarchy and authority. Instead, we are talking about joint steering. 'Governance' is about the handling of complexity and the management of dynamic flows. It is fundamentally about interdependence, linkages, networks, partnerships, co-evolution, and mutual adjustment. Thus we have transcended such high level and highly stylized dichotomies as Science versus Politics (in which - as Sir Peter Medawar (1967) put it - the objective art of the soluble and the subjective art of the possible could not mix). In the style of K a r l Polanyi and Kenneth Boulding, as well as such cultural anthropologists as Mary Douglas, our focus in this volume is with the continuous interaction and negotiation between institutions and networks; between balancing and maximizing economic opportunity, political stability and social cohesion. In this sense, thinking about science and technology policy in terms of governance draws us inevitably into the realm of evolutionary economics - as enunciated by Christopher Freeman, Richard Nelson, Sidney Winter, J. Stanley Metcalfe, Giovanni Dosi and others - as well as into the periphery of systems thinking a la Robert Jarvis and Stephen Kline and directly into the headlights of Joseph Schumpeter and F . A . von Hayek. We are also

forced to deal with the tacit dimension of knowledge, not only its codified aspects, as riveted by Michael Polanyi, and to reconsider socio-economic activity in terms of intangibility, information and services, as Ian Miles and Johnathan Gershuny have done. Thus the governance of science, technology and innovation is not about centralized mindsets and bureaucracies but is instead about finding the optimal level of decision-making and dispersion, power and legitimacy, participation and action as it pertains to the new production, use and diffusion of knowledge - our most important currency.