Biotechnology policy convergence in continental Europe? Political institutions, problem framing and learning.

VerfasserBandelow, Nils C

Biotechnology policy has been an issue of German and European policy studies since the early 1990s. Starting with a book that complained about "unpolitical" processes and regulations (Gill 1991), a lot of young researchers selected the area for their PhDtheses then. These students have established study groups and presented their results in several edited volumes (Martinsen 1997; Simonis/Martinsen/Saretzki 2000; Edler/Kuhlmann/Behrens 2003).

The pioneers of biotechnology policy research were driven by two forces: An idealistic one and a research-oriented one. Firstly, some of them were associated with the anti-genetic-engineering-movement or even actively participated in NGOs that fought certain developments within industry and science (f.e. Gill 1991). Secondly, researchers wanted to use the field of genetic engineering policy to adopt, prove and develop theoretical frameworks of policy analysis (f.e. Gottweis 1998).

In the meantime, the first approach has become less important. There are hardly radical skeptics of gene technology in the policy analysis community any more - a development that reflects the policy change in this field. The place of skeptics has been taken by governance research. Like in other areas, questions of soft governance, participation and multilevel problem solving have become important in biotechnology research (f.e. Abels 2002; Dolata 2004). Nevertheless biotechnology still is not a "normal" field of policy analysis. Biotechnology policy is framed within different areas shaping both the political process and the debates of policy analysts: environment (f.e. Bandelow 1997), research and innovation (f.e. Behrens 2000; Kaiser/Prange 2004), employment (f.e. Menrad 2005) trade (f.e. Schenek 1995; Fink 2003: 4, 13), agriculture and food (f.e. Rippe 2000), ethics (f.e. van den Daele 2005) or gender (f.e. Rothmayr 2003). Some researchers classify the field as social regulative policy that differs from all four types of Theodore Lowi's classification (Lowi 1972: 300). Nevertheless the classification as social regulative policy is controversial: While it is broadly undisputed that biotechnology neither fits into distributive, constituent nor redistributive policy, some problems can be classified as regulative policies. Nonetheless regulative policy does not fit for assisted reproductive technology (ART), because it is not necessarily related to commerce and trade.

Biotechnology policy can be used to test the scope of widely accepted theories of policy research, because it shows particularities like the importance of scientific knowledge and societal norms. All contributions of this special issue start with theses developed in other fields. The first two articles pick up the recent debate about convergence and...

Um weiterzulesen


VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT