A social shaping perspective on nanotechnologies

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Abstract

The social shaping of technology approach (SST) has developed as a response to narrow approaches tideas of o technological changes based on techno-economically rationality elations and linear conceptions of technology development and its consequences. The SST approach seems especially promising in areas where visions are manifold and applications and markets are non-existing or unclear. The emerging idea of 'nanotechnologies' is an example of this kind, where techno-economic networks are unstable or under construction and consequences are difficult, if not impossible to evaluate. The paper explores the potential of a social shaping of technology approach in the area of emerging nano-technologies and debate the methodological aspects based on an ongoing Danish foresight project concerned with environmental risks and opportunities in nanotechnologies. The focus is on the identification of strategic considerations and choices related to early stages of socio-technical or socio-economic network building processes cutting across diverse worlds of science, manufacturing, product design and use.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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