Constructive Technology Assessment and the Methodology of Insertion

Arie Rip, Douglas K.R. Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA) started out (in the Netherlands in the late 1980s) as an attempt to broaden technology developments by including more aspects and more actors, and has been further positioned as a way to overcome the institutionalised division of labour between promotion and control of technology. For newly emerging technologies like nanotechnology, which live on promises, CTA has to address uncertain futures. It does so by analysing dynamics and emerging irreversibilities in a technology domain, identifying “endogenous futures” and creating socio-technical scenarios exploring what could happen. Such scenarios are a platform for interaction between stakeholders in strategy-articulation workshops. Organizing such workshops by CTA agents constitutes a soft intervention in ongoing developments, and contributes to make ongoing co-evolution of science, technology and society more reflexive. The CTA analyst inserts herself in ongoing developments in the domain that is being addressed, to identify what is at stake. This is not just data collection, but already interaction, as a knowledgeable visitor. Such a role has to be earned, for example by offering useful (but also critical) insights based on circulation in the domain and social-science analysis. This constitutes a methodology of inquiry-in-interaction, which increases reflexivity of the developments. It is an essential part of the CTA enterprise
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly engagement and new technologies: Opening up the laboratory
EditorsNeelke Doorn, Daan Schuurbiers, Ibo van der Poel, Michael E. Gorman
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-7843-6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NamePhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
NumberVol. 16


  • IR-92364
  • METIS-306172


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