NanoEthics

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 137–150 | Cite as

Communitarian and Subsidiarity Perspectives on Responsible Innovation at a Global Level

Original Paper

Abstract

All stakeholders agree publicly that innovation and governance of emerging technologies should be done responsibly. However, the international debate on who should do what to contribute to this lofty goal is nowhere near a solution. The starting point of this paper is the issue of how and for which reason to engage stakeholders in addition to governments in the international governance of nanotechnology. This article examines the mainly North-American communitarian criticism of political liberalism and the related (mainly European) concept of subsidiarity in order to shed new light on this discussion. The central research question is: Can a communitarian-subsidiarity perspective on the roles of governments, companies and civil society actors that hold a stake in emerging technologies clarify the grounds on which each actor should be expected to contribute to responsible research and innovation at the international level? After selecting some relevant aspects of a communitarian-subsidiarity model for a dialogue society, an analytical framework is proposed. This framework is then applied to the recent international dialogue on responsible governance of nanotechnology. The outcomes of the analysis are compared to the OECD planning guide on public engagement and outreach in nanotechnology, and indicators for monitoring progress in responsible global innovation are suggested. The main contribution of the selected communitarian-subsidiarity perspective is that it offers philosophical grounds for a return of citizens to the driving seat in cooperative international responsible innovation.

Keywords

Responsible innovation Communitarianism Subsidiarity Global governance Emerging technologies Nanotechnology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malsch TechnoValuationUtrechtThe Netherlands

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