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Researching technoscientific concerns in the making: narrative structures, public responses and emerging nanotechnologies.

Macnaghten, P. (2010) 'Researching technoscientific concerns in the making: narrative structures, public responses and emerging nanotechnologies.', Environment and planning A., 42 (1). pp. 23-37.


In this paper I engage with debates on technoscientific governance, narrative, and emergent public attitudes. Building on a piece of social research addressing public responses to the social and ethical dimensions of emerging nanotechnologies, I develop a methodology and mode of analysis designed to take into account four distinctive features of nanotechnology discourse and its constitution in the public sphere, namely: its unfamiliarity; its promissory quality; its uncanniness; and its metaphysical assumptions of progress. Through an analysis of common narratives that shape and structure lay public responses to the technology, and in response to framings of how the technology and its applications are being crafted in the public domain, I argue that nanotechnologies offer a site for an intense future politics centred on dilemmas of body invasion, unanticipated risks, nature’s revenge, control, inequalities, and pace of change. I conclude with a set of reflections on the role of the critical social sciences in such a future technopolitics.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Macnaghten, P. (2010). The definitive peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment & Planning A, 42 (1). pp. 23-37 [10.1068/a41349].
Record Created:27 Jan 2010 16:20
Last Modified:09 Dec 2011 09:23

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