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Democratizing Nanotechnology Dialogs: From Attitude and Knowledge to Trust and Communication for a Sustainable Development of Nanotechnology

Lönngren, Johanna (2010) PHYM01 20101
Solid State Physics
Abstract
Nanotechnology is big business. With rapid innovation and expansion
of the field, financial stakes are high. This study is based on the assumption
that the development of nanotechnology in Sweden today is controlled
by economic interests rather than democratic values and sustainable development.
This is considered problematic, and the overall aim with this
study is to propose alternative principles for governing nanotechnology development.
Three concrete questions are answered: Which social actor(s)
should be entrusted with governing nanotechnology? How well does communication
about nanotechnology work within and across different groups
of social actors? How could communication about nanotechnology be improved
to further... (More)
Nanotechnology is big business. With rapid innovation and expansion
of the field, financial stakes are high. This study is based on the assumption
that the development of nanotechnology in Sweden today is controlled
by economic interests rather than democratic values and sustainable development.
This is considered problematic, and the overall aim with this
study is to propose alternative principles for governing nanotechnology development.
Three concrete questions are answered: Which social actor(s)
should be entrusted with governing nanotechnology? How well does communication
about nanotechnology work within and across different groups
of social actors? How could communication about nanotechnology be improved
to further democratic principles and a sustainable development of
nanotechnology? These questions will be answered in both descriptive
(narrative) and interpretive (theoretical-analytical), as well as normative
(with suggestions for improvement) ways. A limited, semi-structured,
qualitative interview study has been conducted with nine respondents as
a basis for descriptive answers. Findings from the theoretical field of Science
and Technology Studies (STS) are applied in order to find theoretical
answers. Normative answers are based on the theoretical STS framework,
the author’s personal expertise as an engineer in the field of nanotechnology,
and other researchers’ studies from primarily the UK and the USA.
The conclusions show that the traditional categories 1) attitude towards,
and 2) knowledge about nanotechnology are considered inappropriate for
studying social aspects of nanotechnology. The author puts forward trust
and communication as alternative and more democratic measures. The
participants’ accounts are used to argue why it is important that public
participation permeates all levels of daily life, rather than being confined
to specific events such as consensus conferences or citizen forums. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Nanoteknik är ‘big business’. Stora summor pengar står på spel då detta
innovativa teknikområde expanderar i snabb takt. Denna undersökning
utgår från antagandet att ekonomiska intressen snarare än demokratiska
värden och hållbar utveckling styr utvecklingen av nanoteknik i Sverige
idag. Detta ses som problematiskt, och det övergripande målet är att
föreslå alternativa principer för att styra utvecklingen av nanotekniken.
Studien svarar på tre konkreta frågor: Vilka sociala aktörer bör få förtroendet
att besluta över nanoteknikens utveckling? Hur väl fungerar kommunikationen
inom och mellan sociala aktörer kring nanoteknik? Hur
kan kommunikationen förbättras för att stärka demokratiskt inflytande
kring och hållbar utveckling av... (More)
Nanoteknik är ‘big business’. Stora summor pengar står på spel då detta
innovativa teknikområde expanderar i snabb takt. Denna undersökning
utgår från antagandet att ekonomiska intressen snarare än demokratiska
värden och hållbar utveckling styr utvecklingen av nanoteknik i Sverige
idag. Detta ses som problematiskt, och det övergripande målet är att
föreslå alternativa principer för att styra utvecklingen av nanotekniken.
Studien svarar på tre konkreta frågor: Vilka sociala aktörer bör få förtroendet
att besluta över nanoteknikens utveckling? Hur väl fungerar kommunikationen
inom och mellan sociala aktörer kring nanoteknik? Hur
kan kommunikationen förbättras för att stärka demokratiskt inflytande
kring och hållbar utveckling av nanoteknik? Frågorna får både deskriptiva
(berättande) och tolkande (teoretiskt analytiska) svar, samt normativa
(med förslag på förbättring). För att besvara frågorna deskriptivt har
en begränsad, halvstrukturerad kvalitativ intervjustudie av nio respondenter
genomförts. För att besvara dem teoretiskt har det teroetiska fältet
av vetenskapsstudier, Science- and Technology Studies (STS) använts.
För de normativa slutsatserna har den teoretiska STS-ramen, författarens
egen expertis som nano-ingenjör, samt andra forskares studier från främst
Storbritannien och USA använts. Slutsatserna visar att de traditionella
kategorierna 1) attityder mot, och 2) kunskap om nanoteknik bedöms
vara olämpliga kategorier för att undersöka nanoteknikens sociala aspekter.
Som alternativa och mer demokratiska mått föreslår författaren tillit
och kommunikation. Deltagarnas berättelser används för att argumentera
varför det är viktigt att allmänhetens deltagande sker på alla nivåer i det
dagliga livet snarare än att vara begränsad till särskilda evenemang såsom
konsensuskonferenser eller medborgarfora. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lönngren, Johanna
supervisor
organization
course
PHYM01 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
additional info
Examinator: Knut Deppert
Avdelningen för fasta tillståndets fysik
Lunds universitet
id
1669923
date added to LUP
2010-09-10 12:01:22
date last changed
2010-09-10 12:01:22
@misc{1669923,
  abstract     = {Nanotechnology is big business. With rapid innovation and expansion
of the field, financial stakes are high. This study is based on the assumption
that the development of nanotechnology in Sweden today is controlled
by economic interests rather than democratic values and sustainable development.
This is considered problematic, and the overall aim with this
study is to propose alternative principles for governing nanotechnology development.
Three concrete questions are answered: Which social actor(s)
should be entrusted with governing nanotechnology? How well does communication
about nanotechnology work within and across different groups
of social actors? How could communication about nanotechnology be improved
to further democratic principles and a sustainable development of
nanotechnology? These questions will be answered in both descriptive
(narrative) and interpretive (theoretical-analytical), as well as normative
(with suggestions for improvement) ways. A limited, semi-structured,
qualitative interview study has been conducted with nine respondents as
a basis for descriptive answers. Findings from the theoretical field of Science
and Technology Studies (STS) are applied in order to find theoretical
answers. Normative answers are based on the theoretical STS framework,
the author’s personal expertise as an engineer in the field of nanotechnology,
and other researchers’ studies from primarily the UK and the USA.
The conclusions show that the traditional categories 1) attitude towards,
and 2) knowledge about nanotechnology are considered inappropriate for
studying social aspects of nanotechnology. The author puts forward trust
and communication as alternative and more democratic measures. The
participants’ accounts are used to argue why it is important that public
participation permeates all levels of daily life, rather than being confined
to specific events such as consensus conferences or citizen forums.},
  author       = {Lönngren, Johanna},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Democratizing Nanotechnology Dialogs: From Attitude and Knowledge to Trust and Communication for a Sustainable Development of Nanotechnology},
  year         = {2010},
}