Volume 17, Issue 1, Winter 2013
Extending Feenberg: Toward the Instrumentalization of the Critical Theory of Technology
Science, Technology, and the Political
The (Im)possibility of Democratic Rationalization
In this paper, I elaborate on the very political dimension of epistemology that is opened up by the radical change of focus initiated by constructivism: from science as knowledge to science as practice. In a first step, this brings me to claim that science is political in its own right, thereby drawing on Mouffe and Laclau’s framework of radical democracy and its central notion of antagonism to make explicit what is meant by ‘the political.’ Secondly, I begin to explore what this intrinsic political dimension of science might entail for democratic thought. I do so by connecting my preliminary explorations in the field of science with Andrew Feenberg’s elaborate frame of thought on the democratization of technology. Interestingly, Feenberg is one of the few thinkers who have connected questions of power and ideology, typically treated of within the field of political theory, with a constructivist approach to technological progress. In this sense, this paper can be seen as a first attempt to expand Feenberg’s framework of democratic rationalization from the world of technology to the world of science.