PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Strategies for the public communication of nanotechnologies
A three country comparative study

Miguel Garcia-Guerrero  

Modern society is characterized by a strong feedback with science and technology (S&T): social context influences the path for emerging technologies and these in turn shape the way people produce, work and live. When a new and powerful technology wave arises, with the potential to influence and transform different social and economic sectors, development opportunities appear but they are restricted for those agents informed and active anough to take advantage and use the emerging advances to improve the living conditions of their society or to maximize private benefits. Over the last 15 years nanotechnologies (NT) have stablished worlwide as a powerful cluster of emerging technologies, with the promise of even becoming the next big technological revolution. Research for this advances, that involve the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular scale, have received support for more than 50 billion dollars in public support worldwide even when most people don't have an idea of what they are. Public communication of science and technology plays a key role in the social construction of the NT, offering a perspective on the subject for non-specialists and, with it, influencing how agents comprise these developments and interact with them. This paper is dedicated to identifying how different strategies for the popularization of NT get society involved with these emerging technologies in Spain, United States and Mexico; with this we intend to establish whether they serve as facilitators of a rich social participation or as mere propaganda tools for the adoption of new technologies.

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