Energy Futures: Five Dilemmas of the Practice of Anticipatory Governance

Sarah R. Davies, Cynthia Lea Selin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Public participation has become standard practice in both environmental communication and science and technology studies, with such engagement increasingly moving ‘‘upstream’’ to the early stages of technological development. One framework for these activities is anticipatory governance, in which foresight and public and stakeholder engagement are used to reflect on*and direct*the impacts of new technology. In this essay we draw on our experience of anticipatory governance, in the shape of the ‘‘NanoFutures’’ project on energy futures, to present a reflexive analysis of engagement and deliberation. We draw out five tensions of the practice of deliberation on energy technologies. Through tracing the lineages of these dilemmas, we discuss some of the implications of these tensions for the practice of civic engagement and deliberation in a set of questions for this community of practitioner-scholars.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)119-136
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanotechnology
  • Energy
  • Public Participation
  • Deliberation
  • Reflexivity
  • Anticipatory Governance

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