Narrative as a resource for inclusive governance : a UK–Brazil comparison of public responses to nanotechnology

Macnaghten, Phil; Guivant, Julia S.


In this article we examine the role of narrative as a resource for developing inclusive governance frameworks, principally through an examination of two public deliberation experiments, conducted concurrently in the UK and Brazil, that took place prior to the rise of interest in responsible innovation. While in the UK we witness a (partial) rhetorical move in science governance, from a top-down technocratic model to a more deliberative model in which public engagement assumes a central role, in Brazil the political contestations over particular technologies failed to gain political traction. A contrast is drawn between the narratives that publics draw upon in responding to nanotechnology between UK and Brazilian publics. We draw on these differences to argue that situated narratives of epistemic inclusion need to be addressed at the outset of adapting any responsible innovation framework to best align its goals and practices with the context of implementation.