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Philosophy - History of Science | Governing Future Technologies - Nanotechnology and the Rise of an Assessment Regime

Governing Future Technologies

Nanotechnology and the Rise of an Assessment Regime

Kaiser, M., Kurath, M., Maasen, S., Rehmann-Sutter, C. (Eds.)

2010, XXIII, 314p.

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  • Presents a constructivist stance on assessment that complements the usual normative viewpoint
  • Relates nanotechnology and its assessment to the question of how societies manage their technological future
  • Provides novel insights into the ways risks and uncertainties are currently governed

Nanotechnology has been the subject of extensive ‘assessment hype,’ unlike any previous field of research and development. A multiplicity of stakeholders have started to analyze the implications of nanotechnology: Technology assessment institutions around the world, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, re-insurance companies, and academics from science and technology studies and applied ethics have turned their attention to this growing field’s implications. In the course of these assessment efforts, a social phenomenon has emerged – a phenomenon the editors define as assessment regime.

Despite the variety of organizations, methods, and actors involved in the evaluation and regulation of emerging nanotechnologies, the assessment activities comply with an overarching scientific and political imperative: Innovations are only welcome if they are assessed against the criteria of safety, sustainability, desirability, and acceptability. So far, such deliberations and reflections have played only a subordinate role. This book argues that with the rise of the nanotechnology assessment regime, however, things have changed dramatically: Situated at the crossroads of democratizing science and technology, good governance, and the quest for sustainable innovations, the assessment regime has become constitutive for technological development.

The contributions in this book explore and critically analyse nanotechnology’s assessment regime: To what extent is it constitutive for technology in general, for nanotechnology in particular? What social conditions render the regime a phenomenon sui generis? And what are its implications for science and society?

Content Level » Research

Keywords » assessment regime - emerging technologies - governance - nanotechnology - science - sociology of science - technology

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - History of Science - Social Sciences

Table of contents 

Part I: Going ‘Nano’: Opportunities and Risks Introduction to Part I Chapter I: Martina Merz: 'Reinventing a Laboratory: Nanotechnology as a Resource for Organizational Change' Chapter II: Monika Kurath: 'Negotiating Nano: From Assessing Risks to Disciplinary Transformations' Chapter III: Christian Kehrt & Peter Schüssler: '‘Nanoscience is 100 Years Old.’ The Defensive Appropriation of Nanodiscourse within the Disciplinary Boundaries of Crystallography' Part II: Making Sense: Visions, Images, and Video Games Introduction to Part II Chapter IV: Joachim Schummer: 'From Nano-Convergence to NBIC-Convergence: ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’' Chapter V: Christopher Coenen: 'Deliberating Visions: The Case of Human Enhancement in the Discourse on Nanotechnology and Convergence' Chapter VI: Andreas Lösch: 'Visual Dynamics: The Defuturization of the Popular ‘Nano-Discourse’ as an Effect of Increasing Economization' Chapter VII: Colin Milburn: 'Digital Matters: Video Games and the Cultural Transcoding of Nanotechnology' Part III:Assessing ‘Nano’: Repercussions on Research Introduction to Part III Chapter VIII: Arie Rip & Marloes van Amerom: 'Emerging de facto Agendas Surrounding Nanotech-nology: Two Cases Full of Contingencies, Lockouts, and Lock-Ins' Chapter IX: Armin Grunwald & Peter Hocke: 'The Risk Debate on Nanoparticles: Contribution to a Normalisation of the Science/Society Relationship?' Chapter X: Mario Kaiser: 'Futures Assessed: How Technology Assessment, Ethics and Think Tanks Make Sense of an Unknown Future' Part IV:Assessing Dialogue: Governing ‘Nano’ by ELSI Introduction to Part IV Chapter XI: Alain Kaufmann, Claude Joseph, Catherine El-Bez & Marc Audétat: 'Why enrol citizens in the governance of nanotechnology?' Chapter XII: Risto Karinen & David H. Guston: 'TowardAnticipatory Governance: The Experience with Nanotechnology' Chapter XIII: Christoph Rehmann-Sutter & Jackie Leach Scully: 'Which Ethics for (of) the Nanotechnologies?' Part V: Deconstructing the Assessment Regime Introduction to Part V Chapter XIV: Alfred Nordmann & Astrid Schwarz: 'Lure of the ‘Yes’: The Seductive Power of Technoscience' Chapter XV: Matthew Kearnes: 'The Time of Science: Deliberation and the ‘New Governance’ of Nanotechnology' Chapter XVI: Sabine Maasen: 'Converging Technologies – Diverging Reflexivities? Intellectual Work in Knowledge-Risk-Media-Audit Societies'

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