Anticipatory governance and moral imagination : methodological insights from a scenario-based public deliberation study
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofTechnological forecasting and social change ; vol. 151.
The fields of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and participatory foresight seek to establish, and toinclude publics within, anticipatory governance mechanisms. While scenario-based methods can bring to thepublics’ attention the ethical challenges associated to existing technologies, there has been little empirical re-search examining how, in practice, prospective public deliberative processes should be organized to informanticipatory governance. The goal of this article is to generate methodological insights into the way suchmethods can stimulate the public's moral imagination regarding what may (or may not) happen in the future andwhat should (or should not) happen in the future. Our qualitative analyses draw on a public deliberation studythat included videos and online scenarios to support participants’ (n= 57) deliberations about fictional inter-ventions for genetically at-risk individuals. Our findings clarify how participants: (1) challenged key elements ofour scenarios; (2) extended several of their technical and moral prospects; (3) engaged personally with others,including our scenarios’ characters; and (4) mobilized the past creatively to reason about the future. Ourmethodology enabled participants to creatively and empathetically envision complex sociotechnical futures. Yet,important methodological limits should be acknowledged by those who design, implement and use public en-gagement methods to inform anticipatory governance.