Social learning in the bioeconomy: the Ecover case

Lotte Asveld, Dirk Stemerding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


Moral ambiguity refers to the lack of a societally dominant frame to assess the sustainability of a new technology. The moral learning is fundamental to the development of a bioeconomy because biobased innovations not only encompass the introduction of new technologies, but also may involve a restructuring of value chains and accompanying professional roles and dependencies. Adaptability is a required quality to ensure deliberate learning in a social experiment and to avoid large scale damage due to uncertainties. Because the applications of new biobased technologies are surrounded by uncertainties, it is reasonable to plan them as social experiments designed for social learning. Using the framework of experiments, two related strategies to facilitate learning emerge: namely scaling up and adaptability. These two strategies will be translated to the specific context of biobased innovations and the Ecover case specifically. The future trajectory of the innovation was one major point of dispute in the Ecover case
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew perspectives on technology in society: experimentation beyond the laboratory
EditorsIbo van de Poel, Lotte Asveld, Donna C. Mehos
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315468259-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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