Nanotech Database

Article Title:
On Nanotechnology and Ambivalence: The Politics of Enthusiasm

Kearns, Matthew

Journal Information:
Vol. 1, Num. 2


The problem these two authors confront is the lack of trust the public has in anything smacking of establishment or paternalistic. The lack of public confidence and trust in the regulatory and governance structures upon which [technological] innovation depends has in many ways threatened nanotechnology and its continued existence, though a turn toward the social sciences and the subsequent new focus on public engagement have tried to address this pitfall. This move toward public involvement actually has antecedent in politics, and has only recently been applied to the sciences as a way to ease anxieties and increase enthusiasm. The authors, however, see public ambivalence about nanotechnology not as a problem but as a creative solution, that [a]mbivalence might be better regarded as a way of relating to the implicit technological determinism of nanotechnology and a concern that public values have played little role in the development of technology.