News & events


The Cultural Aspects of Innovation, Including “Grass Roots” Innovations

05 March 2009
12:30 - 13:30

Date :

05 March 2009

Time :

12:30 – 13:30


  • Andrew Jamison, Professor of Technology and Society, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Mr William Blankley, Director in the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), HSRC 
  • Professor Catherine Odora Hoppers, Chair of the South African Research, Chair in Development Education (SARCHI)

Presented by the HSRC, in collaboration with the South African Research Chair in Development Education, UNISA


Innovations are neither good nor bad, but they can be more or less appropriate. It all depends on the context, the situation, the ways they are put to use, in short, on their cultural aspects. These cultural aspects of innovation tend to be neglected by policy-makers, as well as by the innovators themselves, the scientists and engineers who produce innovations. As a result, the way that innovations are put to use is often less effective than it could be.

Drawing on concepts and stories that are presented in the recent book, Hubris and Hybrids: A Cultural History of Technology and Science, written with Mikael Hård, Andrew Jamison will discuss the cultural aspects of innovation, including grass-roots innovations. Many innovations that have taken place in recent decades, from wind-energy power plants to open-source computer software and Internet search engines, have grown from particular grass-roots, or local settings to become globally significant. By focusing on the cultural aspects of innovation, both the cultural contexts in which they emerge and the cultural processes through which they come to be used, more appropriate policies – and more appropriate innovations – might be able to be made than is currently the case in many parts of the world.  
Andrew Jamison is professor of technology and society at Aalborg University in Denmark and guest professor of environmental science at Malmf University College in Sweden. He was the coordinator of the EU-funded project, Public Participation and Environmental Science and Technology Policy Options (PESTO), and has been involved in a large number of other research projects during the past 25 years. He is the author of The Making of Green Knowledge (Cambridge University Press 2001) and the co-author, with Ron Eyerman, of Social Movements (Polity 1991) and Music and Social Movements (Cambridge University Press 1998).

Please RSVP by 2 March 2009


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