the political work of impact assessment
This chapter argues that one way to re-imagine Europe is to re-imagine science and technology policy instrumentation as a moment when actors come together and enact ‘their’ Europe. To show this, the chapter conceptualises the regulatory tool of Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) as a space for political action. Drawing on empirical material gathered through interviews and observation of meetings, Diego de la Hoz del Hoya presents two modelling exercises whereby fishers, marine biologists and Commission officials mobilised to agree the setting of fishing thresholds. In showing the detail of actor arguments and practices, he argues that far from being sites of mere technical regulation, IIAs provide critical new spaces for European political work. IIAs emerge as ‘political’ in two ways: first, in the course of IIA, important value judgments are made, not only about the content of policy (here, fisheries), but also about the very nature of Europe itself; second, IIAs confront actors with issues of distribution of power and authority. Overall, the chapter contributes to the cross-fertilisation of Science and Technology Studies with a political sociology of the EU.
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