Alternative pathways in science and industry: activism, innovation, and the environment in an era of globalization

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MIT Press, May 1, 2007 - Business & Economics - 334 pages
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In Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry, David Hess examines how social movements and other forms of activism affect innovation in science, technology, and industry. Synthesizing and extending work in social studies of science and technology, social movements, and globalization, Hess explores the interaction of grassroots environmental action and mainstream industry and offers a conceptual framework for understanding it.

Hess proposes a theory of scientific and technological change that considers the roles of both industry and consumers in setting the research agenda in science and technology, and identifies alternative pathways by which social movements can influence scientific and technological innovation. He analyzes four of these pathways: industrial opposition movements organized against targeted technologies (as in the campaign against nuclear energy); technology- and product-oriented movements, which press for alternatives (as does the organic food movement); localism, which promotes local ownership (as in "buy local" campaigns); and access pathways, which support a more equitable distribution of resources. Within each pathway, Hess examines reforms in five areas: agriculture, energy, waste and manufacturing, infrastructure, and finance. Hess's theoretical argument and the empirical evidence he presents demonstrate the complex pattern of incorporation (of grassroots innovations) and transformation (of alternative ownership structures and the alternative products themselves) that has characterized the relationship of industry and activism. His analysis of alternative pathways to change suggests how economic organizations could shift to a more just and sustainable course.

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Retheorizing Scientific Change
Science in an Era of Globalization
The Transformation of Technological Fields

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About the author (2007)

David J. Hess is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Director of the Program in Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry (MIT Press, 2007) and many other books.

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