Rationality and Ritual

In Rationality and Ritual, internationally renowned expert Brian Wynne offers a profound analysis of science and technology policymaking. By focusing on an episode of major importance in Britain’s nuclear history – the Windscale Inquiry, a public hearing about the future of fuel reprocessing – he offers a powerful critique of such judicial procedures and the underlying assumptions of the rationalist approach.

This second edition makes available again this classic and still very relevant work. Debates about nuclear power have come to the fore once again. Yet we still do not have adequate ways to make decisions or frame policy deliberation on these big issues, involving true public debate, rather than ritualistic processes in which the rules and scope of the debate are presumed and imposed by those in authority. The perspectives in this book are as significant and original as they were when it was written.

The new edition contains a substantial introduction by the author reflecting on changes (and lack of) in the intervening years and introducing new themes, relevant to today’s world of big science and technology, that can be drawn out of the original text. A new foreword by Gordon MacKerron, an expert on energy and nuclear policy, sets this seminal work in the context of contemporary nuclear and related big technology debates.

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Rationality And Ritual


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