Community Engagement to Facilitate, Legitimize and Accelerate the Advancement of Nanotechnologies in Australia
Vol. 4, Num. 1
This article focuses on the public engagement initiatives the Australian government (state and federal) has undertaken to increase public awareness about nanotechnology and to ensure the science develops along lines the people can support. The authors, however, find limitations to the utility of upstream public engagement in helping the government to develop regulatory policies. Through analyzing a number of the actions of these governmental bodies meant to bring the people and nanotechnology together, their study reveals the extent to which industry interests have captured policy makers and regulators, dissenting voices have been excluded from engagement processes, and engagement processes have not connected with actual policy making activities. In the end, the authors find seven means of effectively engaging the public in nanotechnological discourse that neither overly involve industry interests nor exclude dissenting voices nor seek to persuade the public in favor of nanotechnology.