Context Matters: Promises and Concerns Regarding Nanotechnologies for Water and Food Applications

NanoEthics 7 (1):17-27 (2013)

Abstract
Expectations in the form of promises and concerns contribute to the sense-making and valuation of emerging nanotechnologies. They add up to what we call ‘de facto assessments’ of novel socio-technical options. We explore how de facto assessments of nanotechnologies differ in the application domains of water and food by examining promises and concerns, and their relations in scientific discourse. We suggest that domain characteristics such as prior experiences with emerging technologies, specific discursive repertoires and user-producer relationships, play a key role in framing expectations of nanotechnology-enabled options. The article concludes by suggesting that domain-specific discourses may lead to undesirable lock-ins into specific de facto assessments pre-structuring anticipatory strategies of actors
Keywords Sociology of expectations  Nanotechnology  Water  Food  Domain characteristics  De facto assessment
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DOI 10.1007/s11569-013-0168-4
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