Reference : The Politics of Independence and Neutrality: The Dismantling of the Flemish Institute...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
The Politics of Independence and Neutrality: The Dismantling of the Flemish Institute for Society and Technology, IST
Van Oudheusden, Michiel mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Anal. et éval. des politiques publ.-Méthod. de sc. politique >]
2013 Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference
du 3 juillet 2013 au 5 juillet 2013
University of Vienna
[en] Independence ; IST ; Paraparliamentary institute
[en] In 2011, the Flemish Parliament announced that it would restructure three of four “paraparliamentary institutes” (PPIs) that advise and inform its Members of Parliament. This paper explores how the institutional restructuring of the PPIs was achieved. Taking the Flemish PPI for Society and Technology (IST) as primary focus, it indicates how a political working group decided on the agency’s future behind closed doors and the media paid considerably more attention to the plight of the other PPIs. Drawing on interviews with key actors (politicians, PPI staff members, journalists, among others) and public and private documentary sources, the paper offers a range of possible explanations for why the IST remained out of the public spotlight, as well as why, in the end, the IST was the only PPI to be abolished. It ties these considerations into a larger debate about the principles of political independence and neutrality, which all PPIs are assumed to uphold, but which PPIs interpret and enact differently. It argues that to earn and sustain a reputation as an independent agency, the IST repeatedly steered away from taking a stance on technoscientific issues. As a consequence, and in spite of its mission of opening science and scientific processes to public debate, the IST was unable to develop and articulate a critique of the politics of science policy. Nor did it position itself in relation to the discourses and mechanisms that sought to contain it, including neoliberal narratives and the IST’s strong connection to parties on the left side of the political spectrum. By rendering these narratives and connections explicit, the paper draws attention to the multiple, potentially conflicting institutional identities that defined the IST throughout its thirteen-year existence.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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