Presentation on theme: "Image Dynamics in Nanotechnologys Risk Debate Marloes van Amerom (PhD) & Martin Ruivenkamp (M.A.)"— Presentation transcript:
Image Dynamics in Nanotechnologys Risk Debate Marloes van Amerom (PhD) & Martin Ruivenkamp (M.A.)
Image Dynamics in Nanotechnologys Risk Debate A growing number of actors are discussing the risks and drawbacks of Nanotechnology. Images used by actors involved can be an important means of communicating risks, and of generating support for the notion that given technology is dangerous and/or should be regulated. During the portrayal of GM food Frankenstein Food became a popular image.
Image Dynamics in Nanotechnologys Risk Debate Image is a broad concept and may refer to representations, future notions, graphic illustrations, pictures, movies, and so on. In this paper images are understood as: –Metaphor: a figure of speech, offering a view on something by likening it to something else –Terse story: an abbreviated and succinct simplification of the story in which parts of the plot, some of the characters, and segments of the sequence of events are left to the hearers imagination (Boje, et al., 2004) Attention is specifically focused on nanorisk alerting parties such as an NGO, a (re)- insurance company and prudent scientists
Images of Nano-Risks Metaphor: Nanoparticles as the next Asbestos NanotubesAsbestos
Research Questions How do these images mix, shape and compete with images of other stakeholders? How do images affect agenda-setting processes in the nanotech risk debate? What are the possible implications of the outcomes of these processes on the perceived desirability of the usage of nanotechnology for and in developing countries?
Nanoparticles as the new Asbestos Since 2002 the notion that nanoparticles could carry Health, Environmental and Safety risks has increasingly entered and informed the nanotech risk debate. In 2002 ETC Group quoted nano-material scientist Wiesner: Nanoparticles could be the next best thing to sliced bread or the next asbestos. (ETC Group, 2002: 5) ETC demanded strict regulations Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering used the image nanoparticles as the next asbestos as well Re-insurance company Swiss Re argued that nanoparticles could turn out to be a second asbestos leading to major damage claims for companies On this basis Swiss Re called for application of the Precautionary Principle
Grey Goo Drexlers notion of Grey Goo (non-biological molecular machines eat up the entire biosphere) has firstly been identified as a possible nanotech danger. Further impetus to the Grey Goo was given by Bill Joy in Why the future doesnt need us. It is sustained by Crichtons novel Prey, although Prey is about out-of-control swarms of biological organisms. Grey Goo as terse story; simplified and abbreviated, Grey Goo is about havoc wreaking machines. Other parts of the story are left to the hearers/readers imagination, without damaging the notion itself.
Preliminary Findings Images are increasingly important elements in risk communication exercises by nanotech risk alerters, still to little considered. How images are framed and received should be considered in more depth. –In emerging industrial countries the image of nanoparticles as the new asbestos is counterposed by the nano-divide.