Technology Optimism or Pessimism About Genomic Science: Variation Among Experts and Scholarly Disciplines

Citation:

Hochschild, Jennifer, and Maya Sen. 2015. “Technology Optimism or Pessimism About Genomic Science: Variation Among Experts and Scholarly Disciplines.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 658 (1): 236-252. Copy at https://j.mp/2oAag71

Date Published:

2015

Abstract:

Experts, like lay people, express varying levels of technology optimism or pessimism about scientific endeavors. However, explanations for this variation are underdeveloped. We explore technology optimism and pessimism among experts, who have high levels of scientific literacy but different values and norms. We focus on genomic science; its novelty, life-and-death implications, complex technology, and broad but as-yet-unknown societal implications make it an excellent subject for the study of views about new knowledge. After demonstrating the range of views through elite interviews, we analyze results of two content analyses of about 750 articles by prominent social scientists, law professors, and biologists. Some disciplines pay more attention to genomics than others, and they differ in their valences; experts in more liberal disciplines tend to be less optimistic about genomics than scholars in relatively more conservative disciplines. We speculate on why genomics is an exception to the general finding that liberals are more supportive of science than conservatives.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 02/12/2016