Advertisement

NanoEthics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 59–74 | Cite as

One Site—Multiple Visions: Visioneering Between Contrasting Actors’ Perspectives

  • Franziska Engels
  • Anna Verena Münch
  • Dagmar Simon
Original Paper

Abstract

Visions of and narratives about the future energy system influence the actual creation of innovations and are thus accompanying the current energy transition. Particularly in times of change and uncertainty, visions gain crucial relevance: imagining possible futures impacts the current social reality by both creating certain spaces of action and shaping technical artifacts. However, different actors may express divergent visions of the future energy system and its implementation. Looking at a particular innovation site involving multiple stakeholders over an 8-year period, we empirically analyze the collective negotiation process of vision making, its shifting over time, and how visions eventually unfold performativity. Adopting a process perspective, we identify four different phases and the respective functions of visions and visioneering related to the site’s development by exploring the question: Why do certain visions gain importance and eventually lead to substantial changes of the project in process? Qualitative data from documents and interviews analyzed with reference to science and technology studies show the interweaving conditions that influence the visioneering and the linkage to the actual development of material artifacts. Against the backdrop of innovation projects, this paper explores visioneering as an ongoing, transformative and collective process and reveals its moments of (de)stabilization.

Keywords

Vision Visioneering Innovation projects Performativity Material artifacts 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research project “D3 Micro Smart Grid EUREF” was part of the promotional program called “International Showcase of Electric Mobility (Berlin-Brandenburg)” that was being funded by the federal government as well as by the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg for a period of 3 years (03/2013–06/2016) as part of the federal government’s Showcase initiative. The project’s objective was the development and testing of a micro smart grid (MSG) at a designated local area. The accompanying social scientific research in this project was conducted by the TU-Campus EUREF gGmbH, an institute at the Technische Universität Berlin.

The authors would like to thank the editors of this special section as well as the hosts and participants of the session “Visioneering Sociotechnical Innovations: The Making of Visions” at the First International Conference on Anticipation in Trento (Italy), 5–7 November 2015 for their constructive comments.

References

  1. 1.
    Morris C (2014) Germany’s Energiewende. In: Woodrow C (ed) Global sustainable communities handbook. Green design technologies and economics. Butterworth-Heinemann / Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 105–113Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ohlhorst D (2015) Germany’s energy transition policy between national targets and decentralized responsibilities. J Integr Environ Sci 12(4):303–322. doi: 10.1080/1943815X.2015.1125373 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bulkeley H, Castán Broto V (2012) Government by experiment? Global cities and the governing of climate change. Trans Inst Br Geogr 38(3):361–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Evans J, Karvonen A (2014) 'Give me a laboratory and I will lower your carbon footprint!'. Urban laboratories and the governance of low-carbon futures. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(2):413–430. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12077
  5. 5.
    Späth P, Rohracher H (2012) Local demonstrations for global transitions—dynamics across governance levels fostering socio-technical regime change towards sustainability. Eur Plan Stud 20(3):461–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jasanoff S, Kim S-H (2013) Sociotechnical imaginaries and national energy policies. Sci Cult 22(2):189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kivisaari S, Lovio R, Väyrynen E (2004) Managing experiments for transition: examples of societal embedding in energy and health care sectors. In: Eelzen B, Geels FW, Green K (eds) System innovation and the transition to sustainability: theory, evidence and policy. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, Northampton, pp 223–281Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dierkes M, Hoffmann U, Marz L (1996) Visions of technology: social and institutional factors shaping the development of new technologies. St Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nordmann A (2013) Visioneering assessment. On the construction of tunnel visions for technovisionary research and policy. Science, Technology & Innovation Studies 9(2):89–94Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Truffer B, Voß J-P, Konrad K (2008) Mapping expectations for system transformations: lessons from sustainability foresight in German utility sectors. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 75(9):1360–1372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    van Lente H (1993) Promising technology. The dynamics of expectations in technological developments. Eburon, DelftGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Borup M, Brown N, Konrad K, van Lente H (2006) The sociology of expectations in science and technology. Tech Anal Strat Manag 18(3/4):285–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    van Lente H (2012) Navigating foresight in a sea of expectations. Tech Anal Strat Manag 24(8):769–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Janda KB, Topouzi M (2015) Telling tales: using stories to remake energy policy. Building Research & Information 43(4):516–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eames M, McDowall W, Hodson M, Marvin S (2006) Negotiating contested visions and place-specific expectations of the hydrogen economy. Tech Anal Strat Manag 18(3/4):361–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    McCray P (2013) The visioneers: how a group of elite scientists pursued space colonies, nanotechnologies, and a limitless future. University of Princeton Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Evans J, Karvonen A, Raven R (2016) The experimental city: new modes and prospects of urban transformation, in: The experimental city, Routledge, London, New York, pp 1–12Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Felt U (2015) The temporal choreographies of participation: thinking innovation and society from a time-sensitive perspective. Pre-Print; Published by the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna, January 2015. Available at http://sts.univie.ac.at/publications
  19. 19.
    Grunwald A (2012) Technikzukünfte als Medium von Zukunftsdebatten und Technikgestaltung (Karlsruher Studien Technik und Kultur 6). KIT Scientific Publishing, KarlsruheGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Brown N, Rappert B, Webster A (2000) Contested futures. A sociology of prospective techno science. SATSU, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Flick U (2008) Methoden-Triangulation in der qualitativen Forschung, in: Triangulation. Eine Einführung. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, pp 27–49Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lamnek S (1995) Qualitative Sozialforschung. Psychologie Verlags Union, WeinheimGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kühn T, Koschel KV (2011) Gruppendiskussionen. Ein Praxis-Handbuch. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, WiesbadenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Engels F, Münch AV (2015) The micro smart grid as a materialized imaginary within the German energy transition. Energy Research & Social Science 9:35–42Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Star SL, Griesemer JR (1989) Institutional ecology, ‘translations’ and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–39. Soc Stud Sci 19(4):387–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Berker T (2010) Dealing with uncertainty in sustainable innovation: mainstreaming and substitution. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development 5(1):65–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Böhle F (2011) Management of uncertainty—a blind spot in the promotion of innovations. In: Jeschke S, Isenhardt I, Hees F, Trantow S (eds) Enabling innovation. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 17–29Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Star SL (2010) This is not a boundary object: reflections on the origin of a concept. Sci Technol Hum Values 35(5):601–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Boix Mansilla V, Lamont M, Sato K (2016) Shared cognitive-emotional-interactional platforms: markers and conditions for successful interdisciplinary collaborations. Sci, Tech & Human Values 41(4):571–612Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Parker JN, Hackett EJ (2012) Hot spots and hot moments in scientific collaborations and social movements. Am Sociol Rev 77(1):21–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rip A, Voß J (2013) Umbrella terms as a conduit in the governance of emerging science and technology. Science, Technology & Innovation Studies 9(2):39-59Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Trujillo C, Yenisa L (2014) Visioneering and the role of active engagement and assessment. NanoEthics 8(2):201–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Jasanoff S (2015) Future imperfect: science, technology, and the imaginations of modernity. In: Jasanoff S, Kim, SH (eds) Dreamscapes of modernity. Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power. University of Chicago Press. http://iglp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jasanoff-Ch-1.pdf. Accessed 17 February 2017
  34. 34.
    Latour B (2005) Third source of uncertainty: objects too have agency. In: Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 63–86Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Winner L (1986) Do artifacts have politics. In: The whale and the reactor. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 19–39Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franziska Engels
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anna Verena Münch
    • 4
  • Dagmar Simon
    • 1
  1. 1.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), Technical University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.TUM School of Management, Technical University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.TU-Campus EUREF gGmbHBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations