Beyond the Individual in Controversial Science-Based Technology Attitude Formation and Regulation: The State Construction of Policy Alternatives in Asia
38 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2010
Date Written: November 27, 2010
The success of regulation and other forms of state and private sector activity in areas of new technologies are dependent on a number of factors, one of which is the reaction of public opinion to the innovation concerned. Existing theories of public acceptance of controversial science-based products bases largely on European and North American case studies are divided among those which focus on public and consumer knowledge of the science involved – the ‘deficit model’ and those which stress either the need for trust in regulatory and private sector actors involved in new product development and regulation, or the significance of individual cultural norms on attitude formation. This paper examines two cases of the introduction of controversial science in Asia – wastewater re-cycling in Singapore and nanotechnology regulation in the China, in order to assess the influence of these factors in each case. Based on this comparative research, it is argued that models of public acceptance of controversial science-based products must also take into account the state’s ability to define the range of public debate as a key overall parameter of public attitude formation.
Keywords: Democratic Deficit, Regulation, Public Trust, New Technologies, Singapore, China, New Water, Nanotechnology
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By Ching Leong