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Technocratic discourse and technology management: the control of poisons in 19th century Britain

Technocratic discourse and technology management: the control of poisons in 19th century Britain

Coles, Anne-Marie (2010) Technocratic discourse and technology management: the control of poisons in 19th century Britain. In: AHRC Owning and Disowning Invention Project Conference Managing Knowledge in the Techno-sciences, 1850-2000, 5-8 July 2010, University of Leeds. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Regulation of technological risk is generally assumed to utilise a technocratic model of expert advice which has given way, more recently, to a participative approach based on deliberative processes. However, investigation into emergent technocratic processes in the mid-19th century has highlighted activities that contributed to general public acceptance of authoritative technical expertise. Far from being a rationalistic enterprise predicated on the objectivity of authenticated techno-scientific knowledge, such research has revealed discursive and performative actions made by interest groups aimed at drawing boundaries between science and the public as well as between different technical disciplines. Such pre-formed boundaries were partly discursively constructed, negotiated through public communicative practices and were permeable to ‘nonexperts’. This paper focuses on one such group, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, which became involved in boundary setting and expert claims-making throughout the 19th century. Utilising its own house publication ‘The Pharmaceutical Journal’ the Society
campaigned to be regarded as the sole source of expertise qualified to administer regulation which controlled the sale of poisonous substances. By the end of the century boundaries had hardened, expertise had been conferred and there was a dramatic fall in the rate of both criminal and accidental poisoning

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: technological risk, expertise, regulation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:12
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/4740

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