Techno-politics: Trust, Risk and the Crisis of Representation

In high-tech societies, a problem is the persistent lack of inventive democratic politics capable of accommodating the rapid growth of unfamiliar and uncertain issues of science and technology. STS scholars have thus argued that we live in a society characterized by a dual speed of uncertain techno-politics. This duality is played out between (1) the many unfamiliar socio-technical inventions that disrupt our life- world; and (2) an increasing inability of representative governments to offer durable political accommodation to the issues at stake in people’s lives. There seems to be a mismatch between the rapid transformation of social everyday life and the institutional mechanisms of slow representative democracies. In an attempt to deal with this crisis of representation, a ‘participatory boom’ has emerged within the last decades. However, such ‘speeding up politics’ through more institutionalized opinion-making, might simply supersede more profound public concerns with technology. To tackle this predicament we will engage with the crisis of representative democracy in relation to the advance of techno-science.

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