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01.04.2013 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2013

NanoEthics 1/2013

DuPont and Environmental Defense Fund Co-Constructing a Risk Framework for Nanoscale Materials: an Occasion to Reflect on Interaction Processes in a Joint Inquiry

Zeitschrift:
NanoEthics > Ausgabe 1/2013
Autor:
Lotte Krabbenborg

Abstract

There is interest in more and better interaction between civil society and actors developing nanotechnologies, nano-materials and nano-enabled products: government agencies but also branch organizations in the chemical sector position civil society organizations (CSOs) as ‘voices of civil society’, and invite CSOs to participate in multistakeholder events. In such events, CSOs are expected to articulate societal needs, issues and values so that these can be taken up by actors with institutional roles and mandates to develop and embed newly emerging nanosciences and nanotechnologies (NEST). This article argues that such a division of moral labor between CSOs and nanotechnology actors is not productive to address NEST and its emerging societal issues. There is an assumption that societal issues are ‘out there’ and can be recognized by CSOs, while in fact, societal issues might co-evolve with new development trajectories and thus have to be discovered and articulated. More productive deliberation requires, ideally, overcoming the traditional division of moral labor between these two groups of actors: technology developers should also inquire into and articulate emerging societal issues, and CSOs should inquire into and reflect on actual development trajectories. In order to explore issues and repercussions that arise in such a repositioning, this article will discuss a bottom up experiment of such an interaction between a nanotechnology developer (DuPont) and a CSO (Environmental Defense Fund). Based on the empirical analysis of this bottom up experiment, tentative requirements will be developed for how joint inquiries between technology developers and CSOs can be realized on a larger scale in our society.

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