Technoscience comes to Lund: ESS and the Enlightenment Vision

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk


In 2019 the first neutrons will be fired at the ESS plant, at least to its present plan, located in the outskirts of Lund, the brightest neutron facility in the world. In the scientists’ self-images, this kind of high technology and international cooperative knowledge production is entitled Big Science or Global Science. The concept “technoscience” isn’t used. This chapter will discuss if the concept technoscience makes aspects visible of 21st-century knowledge production that the other labels excludes. My claim is that it does, from two special vantage points, firstly, technoscience represents a new epistemological situation and secondly, a new attitude to social values, expressed in the quest for innovation and improved human conditions. These positions are associated with a new epoch, reflexive modernity or second modernity substituting the linear model of planning and institutional organization, which has for long been modernity’s hallmark. However one should discern this from an important historical fact, that science in practice never has been pure. In general, technology has been inseparable from science since at least the scientific revolution. Science is dependent on technology and technology is embedded in science. Hence the intertwining of theoretical science with technology cannot be a starting point to defend an argument of a new epoch of technoscience.
Technoscience evokes the question if science is acquiring features we don’t yet have an epistemic vocabulary to articulate and hence have difficulties to reflect upon. The break with modernity consists in this non-determinate and open situation. Established binary categories such as natural—man-made and real—unreal are in flux since technoscience has remodeled the ontological situation, both from the perspective of science and of everyday life. The aim with this chapter is to show that the concept of technoscience, opens up for critical reflections on science and society, that remains veiled in concept such as Global Science and Big Science. For some people, the term technoscience is provocative and associated with postmodernism and the de-constructivist ambition to dissolve the rational cornerstones of our modern age and especially the Enlightenment heritage. This ideological standpoint is redundant for accepting that new features of science are constitutive for our knowledge-oriented society. Technoscience opens up for address the new situation of “knowledge and objectivity, theory and evidence, explanation and validation, representation and experimentation,” that affects society as a whole on long terms.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Filosofi
  • Idé- och lärdomshistoria


Titel på värdpublikationLegitimizing ESS
Undertitel på gästpublikationBig Science as collaboration across boundaries
RedaktörerThomas Kaiserfeld, Thomas O'Dell
FörlagNordic Academic Press
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-87351-10-5
StatusPublished - 2013
Peer review utfördJa


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Thomas Kaiserfeld (red.) & Thomas O'Dell (red.), 2013, Nordic Academic Press. 240 s.

Forskningsoutput: Bok/rapportAntologi (redaktör)

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