The Ambivalence of Promising Technology

Clare Shelley Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Issues of responsibility in the world of nanotechnology are becoming explicit with the emergence of a discourse on ‘responsible development’ of nanoscience and nanotechnologies. Much of this discourse centres on the ambivalences of nanotechnology and of promising technology in general. Actors must find means of dealing with these ambivalences. Actors’ actions and responses to ambivalence are shaped by their position and context, along with strategic games they are involved in, together with other actors. A number of interviews were conducted with industrial actors with the aim of uncovering their ethical stances towards responsible development of nanotechnology. The data shows that standard repertoires of justification of nanotechnological development were used. Thus, the industrial actors fell back on their position and associated responsibilities. Such responses reinforce a division of moral labour in which industrial actors and scientists can focus on the progress of science and technology, while other actors, such as NGOs, are expected to take care of broader considerations, such as ethical and social issues
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-189
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-90396
  • METIS-274229


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