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Not another GMO: explaining Europe's approach to nanotechnologies

[working paper]

Jaspers, Nico

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Corporate Editor Freie Universität Berlin, FB Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
Abstract Despite early warnings about “knowledge-enabled mass destruction” and the ongoing battle over agricultural biotechnology, the development of nanotechnology in Europe has been remarkably quiet over the past decade: non-governmental organization (NGO) campaigns against “nano” were all but inexistent and the wider public appears largely uninterested in nanotechnology. Why has Europe’s experience with nanotechnologies been so fundamentally different from that with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? This article argues that differences in the technologies as such cannot fully explain this divergence. Instead, a convergence of interests across key groups of stakeholders, the institutional evolution of the European Union (EU) and the experience from the GMO case enabled and facilitated a highly anticipatory and proactive approach to nanotechnology risk governance. This approach, marked by early capacity building, stakeholder involvement and gradual regulation succeeded in avoiding public polarization and in promoting a responsible development of nanotechnologies.
Keywords nanotechnology; policy on technology; genetic engineering; risk assessment; risk management; EU; governance; regulatory policy
Classification Special areas of Departmental Policy; Technology Assessment; European Politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
City Berlin
Page/Pages 27 p.
Series KFG Working Paper Series, 44
ISSN 1868-7601
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications