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Reflexive Governance for Research and Innovative Knowledge by Marc Maesschalck

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5Promoting Reflexive Governance of RRI

Over the course of the previous chapters, we have attempted to highlight the particular plane on which an approach in terms of reflexive governance may operate. The fundamental challenge is to shift the attention that directs reformative activism onto the production of a reflected and collaborative mode of piloting attempts at reform. This shift may be called into question by a form of reformative activism that itself views such an issue as of secondary importance. Other obstacles to this shift arise from a certain representation of the role of a third party, ideally played by such an attentional mechanism for steering reform processes. Reflexive governance, thus, appears as a theoretical proposition, which attempts to challenge the idea, underpinning governance practices, that the actors in question possess a pregiven disposition to benefit from intelligent processes that allow for an alignment of preferences and an increase in the collective problem-solving capacity. Instead of an essentially forward-looking selective attention to the desired results, reflexive governance insists on the role of retrospective attention, inherent in the capacity for anticipation, which is thus based on a backward-looking mode. There is thus a need for actors to work on themselves during the course of action in order to permit progressive detachment from pregiven self-guaranteeing capacities that create both a supposed action identity and a power for repetition. ...

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