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Between Enlightenment and Disaster

Dimensions of the political Use of Knowledge


Edited By Linda Sangolt

Modern politics is highly science-dependent and knowledge-driven. What is the rightful role of expert knowledge in political life? How can the truth claims of science be reconciled with principles of democratic control and lay participatory rights in decision-making?
This collection of essays by political scientists, sociologists and economists from Germany, France and Norway provides different empirical and theoretical analyses of the complex organising and legitimising power of knowledge in political governance. The authors shed light on key dimensions and dilemmas that have shaped the world-changing interrelations between politics, social institutions and scientific knowledge in the past century.
The contributions cover issue-areas and policy-fields such as population control, health economics, ICTs and higher education reform, and the politics of productivity and economic pre-eminence.


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Acknowledgements 11


Acknowledgements This volume brings together contributions by Norwegian, German, and French scholars initially presented at the annual "Politics and Knowledge" conferences at the University of Bergen from 2001 to 2007. These annual gatherings began with an interdisciplinary seminar an "Statistics and Politics" which was organised and hosted by the Department of Administration and Organization Theory at the Universi- ty of Bergen in May 2000. I wish to thank my co-authors for their willingness to share in this cross-national and cross-disciplinary endea- vour. Special thanks are due to Alain Desrosieres, formerly at INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des etudes economiques) in Paris, for his participation and generous encouragement of fellow scholars at several of these spring gatherings. 1 would also like to thank Ariane Dupont-Kieffer, Emmanuel Didier, Silvana Patriarca and Martine Mespoulet for stimulating exchanges about the politics of knowledge. The Faculty of Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Administration and Organization Theory at the University of Bergen and Statistics Norway have provided funding and support for these collaborative endeavours. I am grateful to Alf-Inge Jansen, Atle Nyhagen and Tore Tjelmeland for valuable comments to drafts of chapter 4. This book is dedicated to the memory of Gunnar Guddal Michelsen, a young researcher in the Stein Rokkan Research Centre in Bergen whose life was cut brutally short during a research engagement in Senegal in December 2005. 11

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