Experts, Citizens, and Eurocrats – Towards a Policy Shift in the Governance of Biopolitics in the EU
The hypothesis put forward in this paper is that we are currently observing a remarkable policy shift in the European Community concerning the conceptual basis and instruments for the governance of biopolitics. Biopolitics refers to an emerging policy field which involves the societal conflicts over the application of new genetic and reproductive technologies to humans (biomedicine) as well as the application of these new technologies particularly to agriculture and food production (biotechnology). The changes refer to the basic concept of how to govern the relationship between science and society, experts and lay-people, citizens and Eurocrats. The EC is opening up for incorporating ethical concerns into its research, technology and development policy as well as its regulatory biopolicies; furthermore, there is growing openness for “participatory” forms of biopolicy-making, yet the meaning of participation is limited. The reasons for this development are to be found in a more general trend in the transformation of European governance on the one hand aiming at involving civil society actors, and, on the other hand, in the characteristics of the policy field. These visions, spread out in the Commission’s White Paper on European Governance and several related policy papers, prove to be challenging for the Union as dynamic and multi-level polity.
sectoral governance; RTD policy; new technologies; civil society; democratization; European Commission; European Parliament; expert committees; legitimacy; risk regulation; political science
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