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Nanomaterials in Political Life: In the Democracies of Nanotechnology

Abstract : How to deal with nanomaterials in democratic societies? Answering this question requires an understanding of the political qualities of nanomaterials. Rather than discussing "political impacts" that could be assessed once they are properly identified, this paper argues that nanomaterials are inherently political in so far as they are uncertain objects, connected to the future developments of nanotechnology, and tied to public concerns and the mobilization of various publics. It starts by discussing the political dimensions of nanomaterials through the examples of a European "network of excellence" and a carbon nanotube development project in a private company. The paper then describes three democratic formations enacted by the management of nanomaterials. These formations rely on the arrangement between the definition of nanomaterials, expectations about the future, the identification of public concerns, and the mobilization of various publics. I contrast an international "science-based" expertise, a European moral space, and French attempts for the responsible development of nanomaterials.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 5:37:47 PM
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Brice Laurent. Nanomaterials in Political Life: In the Democracies of Nanotechnology. Roberta Brauner, Fernand Fiévet, Thibaud Coradin. Nanomaterials: A Danger or a Promise? A Chemical and Biological Perspective, Springer, pp.379-399, 2013, ⟨10.1007/978-1-4471-4213-3⟩. ⟨hal-00771502⟩



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