Back to search

FUGE-Funksjonell genomforskn.i Norg

From trust to hope.The interface between science and society in late modernity.

Awarded: NOK 1.00 mill.

Project Number:


Application Type:

Project Period:

2009 - 2010


Subject Fields:

In sociology the concept of trust has for a long time dominated analyses of the general relation between science and society (Giddens 1990; Beck 1986; Luhmann 1973). The main thesis of our project is that we are tendentially witnessing an epochal shift in this relation which may be characterized as a move from a logic of trust towards a logic of hope. Trust was in many ways the social and political guarantee of non-intervention, expressing the societal belief in the inherent goodness of dominant scientifi c values. However, the concept of hope indicates a more direct engagement of society in science. Human biotechnology is not just one example among many of this epochal shift in science-society relations, but constitutes a strategic field, being in the ver y forefront of this development and thus functioning as a socio-cultural catalyst. There are many indications of this, ranging from public display of individuals suffering from severe and crippling diseases desperately hoping for stem cell research and ge netics to produce cures for themselves in the nearby future, to the insistence on the "common good" of the same research, implying a hope for a general revolution in regenerative medicine and cures based on insights in genetic disease mechanisms. Alleviat ion of pain and suffering, which present medicine cannot cope with, expresses a too desperate need to be contained within a trust logic-it needs hope. What are the dynamics of this new logic of hope? How does it challenge prevalent notions of both science and science policies, and what types of strategies could be developed in order to meet the possible challenges in a constructive manner? Through investigating how the dynamics of the logic of hope is unfolding at different levels of the science / societ y interface, we aim towards revealing at least some of the possible challenges, opportunities and dilemmas that are being raised by these new developments

Funding scheme:

FUGE-Funksjonell genomforskn.i Norg