Bringing Fences Down: The Role of Critical Innovation Studies in Engaging STS with Innovation and the Contribution of Benoît Godin

  • Tiago Brandão
  • Carolina Bagattolli


Innovation has constituted a subject of key interest for quite some time. However, only a few fields and scholars have embraced the challenge of finding ways to deconstruct our contemporary society’s most recurrent mantra. Questioning the “pro-innovation bias”, the assumption that innovation “is always good” and without undesirable consequences, is what critical studies of innovation (as a new research agenda) are trying to achieve. These critical studies might redeem the study of innovation for the STS interdisciplinary field by merging different critical perspectives. This emerging niche aims to reach beyond the techno-economic understanding of innovation, pointing a path of learning along cross-disciplinary and more critical, historical, and qualitative-based approaches to innovation phenomena – adopting as our example here the intellectual legacy of Benoît Godin (1958–2021). Godin’s work, together with other colleagues, opens up many avenues for engaging STS with innovation, and the appeal for a much-needed critical stance on science, technology and innovation (STI) ‘political’ phenomena – analysing discourses, policy narrative(s), theories, dissecting different kinds of models, etc. Our aim is to demonstrate how critical innovation study could be crucial and fascinating to an STS scholar, adopting as reference the intellectual work of Benoît Godin – whose lessons teach us how to work on a historical and discursive methodology – that studies STI policies by embracing their intellectual and conceptual histories.


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31 Dec 2023
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