AàC – “Histories of science policy from small-state perspectives”, Bruxelles, sept. 2022

Open call for participants: Symposium proposal for the European Society History of Science 2022 Conference

Traditionally, the historiography of science policy has focused on developments in larger science nations such as Great Britain, France, and the United States. Small states, however, may have specific concerns related to the allocation of resources and prioritization of scientific fields and activities that so far have escaped detailed historical scrutiny. Science policy is based on historically situated, political agreements on how science best serves socially desired aims, and different states will differ considerably in how such agreements are made and which social aims get priority. Science policy shapes science and society going forward, but also reflects historically situated ideas about how science works and how science interacts with society.

In this session, we therefore aim to explore histories of science policy as it has developed in smaller nation states. We take a narrow historical approach, looking primarily at 20th and early 21st century developments. Our conception of science policy, however, is rather broad. We seek to cover new institutions established at the boundary between science and politics, different kinds of actors including scientists and non-scientists, and different types of instruments from funding schemes to science, technology, and innovations indicators. Questions to be explored include: What were the institutions, and who were the actors that shaped science policy in small states? Which ideas about science and science-society relations were put forward in order to legitimize small-state science policy? How do small states take inspiration from international developments in science policy and use them into their own national context? To what extent are center-periphery models adequate as explanatory devices for the circulation and translation of knowledge and ideas that promote science policy across national borders? How did social trust and authority play a role in the promotion and establishment of science policies in small states? What sources of political power were being mobilized in the development of small-state science policies?

Bringing to together papers dealing with different small-state experiences, we hope facilitate a discussion about the extent to which we find specific small-state rationales and trajectories in science policy.

The symposium will be organized by Kristian H. Nielsen (khn [at] css.au.dk) and Casper Andersen (ideca [at] cas.au.dk), both Aarhus University, Denmark. Please contact us if you’re interested in contributing to this proposal. Deadline for symposium proposals is 15 January 2022. 

The ESHS Conference is scheduled to take place in Brussels 7-10 September 2022, see https://eshsbrussels2022.com/

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