chapter  10
16 Pages

Epistemic jurisdictions: science and courts in regulatory (de)centralisation


Regulatory science can be defined as the scientific foundation of public policy decisions, whether regulatory, legislative, or judicial (FDA 2013). As a practice, it includes, among other things, technical reasoning such as risk analysis and modeling; the operation of expertise in policy; and procedures for validating knowledge in courts and other governing institutions. The politics and operation of these forms of technical reason within public process has been the subject of STS scholarship for some time (e.g. Nelkin 1984). This work has helped uncover, in nuanced ways, the politics of who makes authoritative knowledge, using whose methods, for whom, and subject to what political consequences (e.g. Jasanoff 1987; Gieryn 1999; Sarewitz 2004). As STS scholars have shown, regulatory science does not represent knowledge free of value. Often sitting in a context of uncertainty and contestation, it combines scientific reasoning with social and political judgment (Jasanoff 1990: 229).