Who governs science and technology in a democracy? Can democracy and the world of science even be reconciled? In Governing Science and Technology in a Democracy (University of Tennessee Press, 1986), Malcolm L. Goggin, a political scientist and editor of the volume, presents viewpoints of a dozen professionals in science, law, philosophy and political science. The book is a collection of papers from a two-day conference in Houston in 1985. In this excerpt from the book, Goggin discusses four impediments to public participation in science policy and two proposals for ensuring better access of the public to the process of setting such policy.

Despite its internal system of democratic self-government, science is one of those activities that lives by elite criteria, exercising claims to autonomy that are anathema to democrats. Democracy is more egalitarian than science, and even the United States' special brand of republican democracy was designed to prevent...

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