Technocracy, democracy, and U.S. climate politics: The need for demarcations

Myanna Lahsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Ulrich Beck and other theorists of reflexive modernization are allies in the general project to reduce technocracy and elitism by rendering decision making more democratic and robust. However, this study of U. S. climate politics reveals complexities and obstacles to the sort of democratized decision making envisioned by such theorists. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. public has been subjected to numerous media-driven campaigns to shape understandings of this widely perceived threat. Political interests have instigated an important part of these campaigns, frequently resorting to ethically problematic tactics to undermine attempts at policy action designed to avert or reduce the threat. The disproportionate influence of such interests suggests the need for a more level political playing field characterized by more equalized access to power and influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-169
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Controversy
  • Democracy
  • Expertise
  • Reflexive modernization
  • Technocracy
  • U.S. Conservative movement

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