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Posted: March 15, 2007
Nanotechnology: from the science to the social
(Nanowerk News) The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK has released a new report entitled "Nanotechnology: From the Science to the Social", by Professor Stephen Wood, Professor Richard Jones and Alison Geldart.
In 2003 the ESRC published a report "The Social and Economic Challenges of Nanotechnology", which investigated discussions taking place around the emergence of nanotechnology and what this might mean
for society. This new report is a follow-up to that original analysis and examines how the debate has moved on in recent years.
The aim of the second report is to outline the general trend in the discussions on nanotechnology’s future, in order to provide a context for future discussions of issues that social science might address.We first outline how the debate was initially framed, before presenting an overview of literature discussing the social and economic aspects of nanotechnology that has appeared since. Our conclusions highlight the major developments in the debate and draw out the implications of these and omissions in the discussion for the social science agenda.
The analysis is based on literature published between July 2003 and April 2006. It includes articles in academic journals, non-governmental organisation (NGO) reports, government and government body reports, and articles in the popular science literature, and is not intended to be exhaustive.
The report's authors argue that the social side of the debate should be broadened to include a wider set of issues, more economics, and more consideration of the social processes through which nanotechnology as an area develops and nanotechnology products emerge.