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Controversy and Politics Divider

Active Participants

 Bullet pointEstablishment Position
  • associated with government, military, corporate industry or professional organisations
  • involvement generally occupational eg public relations people, lawyers, experts, senior executives, bureaucrats, presidents of associations.
  • usually support the technology/project in question

Bullet pointChallenge Position

  • voluntary organisations such as environmental and consumer groups, religious organisations, ad hoc groups formed to fight that particular issue or a set of related issues
  • mainly volunteer activists
  • a few people involved as part of their employment eg some environmentalists, lawyers
  • usually oppose the technology/project in question

Passive Participants

 Bullet pointGeneral Public
  • express their views in a passive way such as:
    • referendum
    • response to a question on an opinion poll
    • spend a day listening to rock music at a demonstration
  • generally support establishment position
  • can be swayed by protest
  • widespread support for science and technology
  • may be opposed technologies for specific reasons

People who are active in a controversy are a small proportion of the population and not representative. Most of the time, however, the action of a technical controversy is played out by the activists on either side, who are few in number.