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Anticipatory Governance of Nanotechnology : Foresight, Engagement, and Integration

By csep - Posted on 03 August 2012

TitleAnticipatory Governance of Nanotechnology : Foresight, Engagement, and Integration
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBarben, Daniel, Fisher Erik, Selin Cynthia, and Guston David H.
Tertiary AuthorsHackett, E. J., Amsterdamska O., and Lynch M.
Book TitleThe Handbook of Science and Technology Studies : Third Edition
PublisherMIT Press
Place PublishedCambridge, MA
ISSN Number9780262083645
KeywordsNanotechnology Policy and Regulation

The widespread understanding that nanotechnology constitutes an emerging set of
science-based technologies with the collective capacity to remake social, economic,
and technological landscapes (e.g., Crow & Sarewitz, 2001) has, in itself. generated
tangible outcomes. In the first years of the new millennium, governments around the
world created national nanotechnology programs that spent billions of dollars (RoeD,
2003), reconfigured institutional arrangements, and constructed new sites for research
and development (R&D). Large transnational corporations have similarly made significant investments in R&D at the nanoscale, and venture capitalists have funded
start-up companies-often launched by university researchers-specializing in a broad
array of nanotechnologies (Lux Research, 2006). Many of these actors present nanotechnology as an enabling platform for other transformative innovations that will
become even more powerful through its "convergence" with biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. The magnitude and speed of such transformations demand critical reflection on the role of technology in socIety and the composition of desirable futures. The presumed nascent state of nanotechnology suggests that critical reflection along with other forms of response may actually contribute to such outcomes. Nanotechnology thus affords crucial opportunities for researchers in science and technology studies (STS) to participate in the construction of safe, civil, and equitahle nanotechnologicai developments.