Nature and nanotechnology: science, ideology and policy

5 July 2010

In discussions of nanotechnology, it has become increasingly common to emphasise the importance of 'responsible governance'. This study focused on the issue of environmental governance and was specifically interested in critically exploring the relationship between nature and nanotechnology.

It began by characterising a range of narratives commonly told about nature and nanotechnology and suggested that each of these was a story that began with particular assumptions, values and beliefs and ended in support for particular fields of research. It then took two contrasting narratives (nanotechnology threatening nature and nanotechnology treating nature) and reviewed their scientific and ideological dimensions.

The article concludes by discussing some of the important policy implications of adopting these narratives and highlights how recognising the existence of a range of different narratives and understanding their ideological underpinnings can help build transparent, reflective and therefore truly ‘responsible’ decision making and debate on the future of nanotechnology.

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Fern Wickson, Khara Grieger, Anders Baun, 2010, Nature and nanotechnology: science, ideology and policy, International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, viewed 26 March 2017, <>.

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