Rowman and Littlefield International


Regulation and Public Discourse

Edited by Iris Eisenberger, Angela Kallhoff, and Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg

3 Reviews

Rooted in different disciplines such as ethics, ecology, law, social and political sciences, this volume explore the normative approaches, societal practices, and legal mechanisms which have emerged in the nano-field over the last two decades.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786608932 Release date: Apr 2019
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786608949 Release date: Apr 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $43.99

Series: Philosophy, Technology and Society

Pages: 308


Over the last decades, nanoscience and nanotechnology has been ascribed the potential to contribute beneficial applications in fields such as medicine, cosmetics, or environmental remediation. At the same time it is still contested whether engineered nanomaterials might be not one-sidedly “good” but may also entail negative side-effects for human health and the environment. To address this uncertainty, academic and political initiatives have sought to establish norms and practices to assess and govern nanomaterials.

Rooted in different disciplines such as ethics, ecology, law, social and political sciences, the chapters in this edited volume explore the normative approaches, societal practices, and legal mechanisms which have emerged in the nano-field over the last two decades. The chapters also present a broad variety of evaluative approaches that may assist societal actors in their attempts to actively shape and contribute to the debate about nanomaterials.

List of Figures and Tables


1.Rethinking Ethical, Legal, and Societal Frameworks for Assessing and Governing Nanomaterials

Angela Kallhoff, Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg, and Elias Moser

Part I: Evaluation and Standardisation

2.Ecocentric Evaluation of Nano-release

Risk, Precaution and Imagination

Angela Kallhoff and Elias Moser

3.Standardising Responsibility?

The Significance of Interstitial Spaces

Fern Wickson and Ellen-Marie Forsberg (reprint)

4.Standardisation and Patenting in Nanotechnology

Better Balancing for a Necessary Nuisance

Thomas Jaeger


Enabler for Nanotechnology Innovation

Henk de Vries

Part II: Norms and Regulation

6.Science – Democracy – Industry

Who is in Charge of Regulating Nanomaterials?

Diana M. Bowman and Lucille M. Tournas

7.Pros and Cons of Nano-Regulation and Ways towards a Sustainable use

Juliane Filser

8.Nanotechnology and Fundamental Rights

How to Regulate Dual Use Research?

Iris Eisenberger and Franziska Bereuter

9.Monitoring the Value of Responsible Research and Innovation in Industrial Nanotechnology Innovation Projects

Emad Yaghmaei, Andrea Porcari, Elivio Mantovani,

and Steven M. Flipse

Part III: Politics and Publics

10.The Politics and Public Imagination of Nano-Labelling in Europe

Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg

11.Emerging Technologies and the Problem of Representation

Lotte Krabbenborg


Democratising a Hyped-up Technology?

Franz Seifert




Iris Eisenberger is Professor at and Head of the Institute of Law at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Her research focuses on law and innovation, environmental law and research law as well as the didactics of law.

Angelika Kallhoff is a Professor of Ethics with special emphasis on Applied Ethics at the University of Vienna’s Department of Philosophy and the director of the Research Platform Nano-Norms-Nature. Her research interests are in the area of ethics, applied ethics, and political philosophy.

Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg is University Assistant (post doc) at the Research Platform Nano-Norms-Nature at the University of Vienna. Her research explores the co-shaping of emerging technosciences and society with a specific focus on the area of nanotechnology.

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3 Reviews

This volume includes 12 conference-based papers. The editors note that though nanotechnologies benefit from both judicial rulings and industrial self-regulation, limited academic involvement has exposed gaps. The contributors follow the ethical, legal, and social aspects (ELSA) approach, with the goal of offering guidelines for reflection. The essays appear under three headings: "Evaluation and Standardisation," "Norms and Regulation," and "Politics and Publics." As with any emerging technology, the matter of anticipatory governance rests at the center of such debates, and the contributors often refer back to the example of biotechnologies, identifying interesting parallels regarding the potential pitfalls of nano-marketing. For example, incomplete information and resulting controversies in the case of genetically manufactured foods suggest cautionary approaches and stress the need for better public information and consultation. Though grounded in the European framework (especially Austria and Western Europe), the volume serves as a basis for further exploration of the issues it raises in other national and cultural contexts. The solid introduction and 20-plus boxes and graphs make up for complex summaries and acronym-heavy explanations.

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals.


Nanotechnology: Regulation and Public Discourse offers important insights into how, paradoxically, the smallest things seem capable of posing the biggest challenges to the world. Taking a comprehensive and multidisciplinary perspective, it integrates governance within and beyond the law, thus, deriving regulatory solutions from the micro-level for the macro-level. A highly instructive book for everyone interested in innovation and shaping a forward-looking normative frame for emerging technologies.

Rostam J. Neuwirth, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Macau

The book Nanotechnology: Regulation and Public Discourse skillfully investigates society’s normative practices for adopting new technologies. By probing the subject of nanotechnology, this important book breaks new ground within our understanding of contemporary mechanisms for assessment and definition of new technological advances. Taking matters further, this volume proposes methodological and normative guidelines that aid our preparation for better nanotechnological futures.

Joakim Juhl, Assistant Professor, Department of Planning, University of Aalborg

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