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
The Significance of Interstitial Spaces
Fern Wickson and Ellen-Marie Forsberg (reprint)
4.Standardisation and Patenting in Nanotechnology
Better Balancing for a Necessary Nuisance
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
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
11.Emerging Technologies and the Problem of Representation
Democratising a Hyped-up Technology?
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.
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.
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.