Governance of Nanotechnology in the Netherlands: Informing and Engaging in Different Social Spheres

Rinie van Est, Bart Walhout, Virgil Rerimassie, Dirk Stemerding, Lucien Hanssen

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    Nanotechnology has provided a new window of opportunity to reframe state-science-society relationships. In particular the notion of upstream public engagement has been put forward. But while public engagement is seen as indispensable in the governance of science and technology (S&T) there still is a need to reflect on why, how, for who and by whom public engagement has to be organised. This paper describes a wide range of activities that were organised in the Netherlands to bring a public perspective into the development of nanotechnology. Our study shows that in order to better understand the complexities of the governance of science and technology, a new research perspective is needed. By reflecting on the relationship between informing and engaging, on the interaction between engagement processes within the societal, scientific and political sphere, and on organisational and institutional constraints, we present an outline of such a new research perspective. As well, we identify key themes for comparative research in governance of S&T within different countries. © 2012 International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6-26
    JournalInternational journal of emerging technologies and society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Governance of science and technology
    • Nanotechnology
    • Public engagement
    • Social spheres


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