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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

New Modernities: Reimagining Science, Technology and Development

Sheila Jasanoff

Environmental Values 11(2002): 253-276. doi: 10.3197/096327102129341082

'Development' operates as an allegedly value-neutral concept in the policy world. This essay describes four mechanisms that have helped to strip development of its subjective and meaning-laden elements: persistent misreading of technology as simply material and inanimate; uncritical acceptance of models, including economic ones, as adequate representations of complex systems; failure to recognize routine practices as repositories of power; and erasing history and time as relevant factors in producing scenarios for the future. Failure to take these elements into account has led to inequality, injustice and unintended consequences in many development projects. Interpretive analysis of development tools and concepts is a much-needed corrective.

KEYWORDS: Development, progress, technological determinism, capacity building, science and technology studies

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