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Nanotechnology Governance: Accountability and Democracy in New Modes of Regulation and Deliberation


By csep - Posted on 01 July 2013

TitleNanotechnology Governance: Accountability and Democracy in New Modes of Regulation and Deliberation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsKurath, Monika
JournalScience, Technology, and Innovation Studies
Volume5
Issue2
Pagination87-110
Date PublishedDecember 2009
PublisherUniversität Duisburg-Essen
ISSN Number18613675
KeywordsNanotechnology Policy and Development
Abstract

Current discourses in science, technology, and innovation policy describe a shift from formal, governmental, or statutory regulation to non-hierarchical, informal, and cooperative self-regulatory approaches. They narrate a turn from government to governance, described as a "governance turn." Governance as a new and popular mode of regulation, deliberation, and shared responsibility is often linked to favored attributes of science and technology development and policy making such as democracy and responsibility. This article analyzes the connection between governance and ideas of accountable and democratic science and technology development in the case of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. For this purpose, soft law measures, self-regulatory initiatives, and public engagement projects in Europe and the U.S. were analyzed using the concept of social robustness (Nowotny et al., 2001).

The study showed that most of the analyzed governance approaches and engagement projects only partially met aspects of social robustness, and that the governance and deliberative turn in science and technology policy has not led, so far, to greater democracy and responsibility in nanoscience and nanotechnology development. As a consequence, the delegation of techno-political decision making to less socially robust governance approaches might lead to a vacuum in science and technology policy and affect not only academic knowledge production but also the innovative force of a society.

URLhttp://www.sti-studies.de/ojs/index.php/sti/article/view/18