Communication as intermediation for socio-technical innovation



The academic interest in 'science and technology communication' has evolved from different societal domains and fields of application, giving rise to different scholarly traditions. This contribution introduces current issues and agendas in a field that has its origin at the interface of (agricultural) innovation studies, rural development sociology and the communication sciences. The paper starts with a brief sketch of the history of the field. When compared to earlier approaches, current thinking about 'communication, innovation and development' pays greater attention to limitations in the potential of orchestrating change and innovation in pre-planned directions, and to political and institutional dimensions of both communication and innovation. In relation to this, new lines of questioning are discussed. The article ends with a reflection on the usefulness of the thinking from different historical periods today. It is argued that approaches to science and technology communication need to be matched with the level of complexity of the issue at hand.