Action Research Books

Social Justice, Environment and Livability books from MIT Press

Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry

Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry:
Activism, Innovation, and the Environment in an Era of Globalization

David Hess

May 2007, MIT Press

In Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry, David Hess examines how social movements and other forms of activism affect innovation in science, technology, and industry. Synthesizing and extending work in social studies of science and technology, social movements, and globalization, Hess explores the interaction of grassroots environmental action and mainstream industry and offers a conceptual framework for understanding it.

Hess proposes a theory of scientific and technological change that considers the roles of both industry and grassroots consumers in setting the research agenda in science and technology and he identifies alternative pathways by which social movements can influence scientific and technological innovation. He analyzes four of these pathways: industrial opposition movements organized against targeted technologies (as in the campaign against nuclear energy); technology- and product-oriented movements, which press for alternatives (as does the organic food movement); localism, which promotes local ownership (as in “buy local” campaigns); and access pathways, which support a more equitable distribution of resources. Within each pathway, Hess examines reforms in five areas: agriculture, energy, waste and manufacturing, infrastructure, and finance. Hess’s theoretical argument and the empirical evidence he presents demonstrate the complex pattern of incorporation (of grassroots innovations) and transformation (of alternative ownership structures and alternative products) that has characterized the relationship of industry and activism. Hess’s analysis of alternative pathways to change suggests how economic organizations could shift to a more just and sustainable course.

David J. Hess is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?, Science and Technology in a Multicultural World, and other books.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: