Representations of (Nano)technology in Comics from the ‘NanoKOMIK’ Project

Sergio Urueña*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Representations of science and technology, embodied as imaginaries, visions, and expectations, have become a growing focus of analysis. These representations are of interest to normative approaches to science and technology, such as Hermeneutic Technology Assessment and Responsible Innovation, because of their ability to modulate understandings of science and technology and to influence scientific and technological development. This article analyses the culture of participation underlying the NanoKOMIK project and the representations and meanings of (nano)science and (nano)technology communicated in the two nano-fiction comic books created as part of the project: Dayanne and Murillo. The power of nanoscience (2016) and NanoKOMIK #2 (2017). The article argues that despite NanoKOMIK’s efforts to engage the public with (nano)science and (nano)technology, it reproduces non-binding modes of public participation and transmits socio-technical meanings that are instrumental in the social legitimisation of (nano)technology. More specifically, the analysis shows that NanoKOMIK’s comic books, in addition to not problematising the risks and conveying an eminently positive view of nanotechnology, also communicate certain ‘myth-conceptions’ of scientific activity and its products. For example, they convey an individualistic and linear vision of research and innovation and an instrumentalist and neutral (or ‘value-free’) view of technology. These findings highlight the importance of critically analysing the ‘cultures of participation’ that characterise and reproduce ‘participatory’ or ‘collaborative’ projects and the representations of (nano)science and (nano)technology that they perpetuate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalNanoEthics
Volume18
Issue number2
Early online date29 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 29 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Nanoscience
  • Nanotechnology
  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Representations of science
  • Technology assessment

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