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CSS colloquium: Martin Bauer, London School of Economics

Learning from Resistance - Towards a Social Psychology of Techno-Scientific Mobilisation

2016.02.16 | Randi Mosegaard

Date Mon 07 Mar
Time 14:15 15:45
Location Koll D (1531-211)

Martin Bauer discusses the key theoretical ideas of his recent books ‘Resistance – and the Practice of Rationality and ‘Atoms, Bytes & Genes – public resistance and techno-scientific responses. Tarde (1890) famously argued that creativity and invention have none or little regularity, while the diffusion of new ideas and practices follows the ’laws of imitation’. This idea remains influential in the model of diffusion of innovation and the linear model of science as it translates into engineering and, eventually, marketing. Bauer argues that this only applies when there is no resistance in the process which, however, is rare. More common are efforts of mobilisation for change processes that encounter resistance, and resistance changes the process: focussing attention where needed; enhancing the ‘bodily self-image’, evaluating on-going mobilisation and urging strategic adaptation and alterations to the plan. Martin Bauer illustrates this with observations on the development of biotechnology in Brazil, US and Europe since the 1990s and its impact.


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Bauer MW (2013). New technology: a social psychology of disinhibition and restraint. In MW, Bauer, R Harre  & C Jensen (eds) Resistance and the Practice of Rationality. Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishers, pp79-100.

Bauer MW (2006). The paradoxes of resistance in Brazil. In Gaskell G & M Bauer (eds) Genomic & Society: legal, ethical and social dimension. London, Earthscan, p228-249

Bauer MW &G Gaskell (eds) (2002). Biotechnology – the making of a global controversy. Cambridge, CUP.

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Tarde, G. (1962) [1890]. The Laws of Imitation. Gloucester, MA:  Peter Smith. 

Valente, T. W. & E. M. Rogers (1995). The Origins and development of the diffusion of the innovation paradigm as an example of scientific growth. Science Communication, 16, 3, 242—273.

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Lecture / talk