An examination of the role of the citizen in a society in which specialized knowledge confers power

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Abbreviations - xi

Introduction - 1

1. Technocracy, Critical Theory, and the New Social Movements - 9

2. German Environmental Policy and Protest in Historical Perspective - 47

3. The Rise of a New Social Movement at Oberhavel - 75

4. The Internal Politics of the Citizen Initiative Movement: Strategies and Dilemmas of Grassroots Democracy - 111

5. Technical Debate in Administrative Court - 139

6. Broadening the Discussion: Energy Planning in Parliament - 173

7. Technological Democracy - 209

References - 237

Index - 243


What are the prospects for democratic participation in the modern technological state? Is technology a force of emancipation or enslavement? Intellectuals such as Max Weber have prophesied that complex issues would ultimately be decided by technical experts instead of by those who were affected or their political representatives—and that politics would give way to technocracy.

Technological Democracy explores the connection between environmental and democratizing concerns in Germany, to see what answers environmental groups might provide to the question of the citizen's role in a technological society. The volume explores the ways in which lay citizens can participate in policy decisions of a technical nature, and whether in doing so they can repoliticize and democratize those policy areas that have become the territory of experts.

Technological Democracy will be of interest to scholars and students in German history, political science, and sociology.

Carol J. Hager is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Bryn Mawr College. She is the recipient of the Harold D. Lasswell Award from the American Political Science Association.

"This book presents a theoretically informed and empirically grounded critique of technological decision making that offers new hope for citizen activism and democracy."
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

- Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

". . . a careful and detailed empirical study, based on extensive interviews, official documents, and newspapers from the period under consideration. Its most important contribution lies in its interdisciplinary approach, which results in an extensive documentation and analysis of the transformation of inchoate dissatisfaction among Berlin's population into an organized and effective force within the city's—and the country's—political life within less than two decades."
—Raymond G. Stokes, University of Glasgow, Central European History, Volume 32, No. 2, 1999

- Raymond G. Stokes, University of Glasgow

"Hager's book should lead future critical researchers to expose the substantive decision making manifest in organizational structure and technological systems."
German Studies Review

- German Studies Review

"Hager has provided a well-written book that manages to sustain interest, even through the technicalities of administrative law. . . . rich in detail . . . ."
Politik: The Newsletter of the Conference Group on German Politics

- Politik: The Newsletter of the Conference Group on German Politics