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Title: Nanotechnology as ideology: Towards a critical theory of 'converging technologies
Authors: Gelfert, A. 
Issue Date: Mar-2012
Citation: Gelfert, A. (2012-03). Nanotechnology as ideology: Towards a critical theory of 'converging technologies. Science, Technology and Society 17 (1) : 143-164. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The present paper contributes to a growing body of philosophical, sociological, and historical analyses of recent nanoscale science and technology. Through a close examination of the origins of contemporary nanotech efforts, their ambitions, and strategic uses, it also aims to provide the basis for a critical theory of emerging technologies more generally, in particular in relation to their alleged convergence in terms of goals and outcomes. The emergence, allure, and implications of nanotechnology, it is argued, can only be fully appreciated if one looks beyond its immediate technical and scientific payoffs to its infrastructural and ideological aspects. While nanotechnology aims to reshape the world 'atom by atom', its most tangible result so far has been the profound effect it has had on the organization of science-at-large, not least as the result of a thorough reshaping of the 'soft' funding infrastructure that places significant constraints on the pursuit of long-term scientific research programmes. The paper concludes by noting a persistent, and perhaps deepening, gap between the utopian visions of some of nanotechnology's most vocal proponents and the realities of contemporary nanotechnological practice, which continue to be marked by global inequities. © 2012 SAGE Publications.
Source Title: Science, Technology and Society
ISSN: 09717218
DOI: 10.1177/097172181101700108
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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