Title: Public reactions to the promotion of nanotechnologies in society

Authors: Sabine Konninger, Ingrid Ott, Torben Zulsdorf, Christian Papilloud

Addresses: Faculty of Cultural Studies, Leuphana University Luneburg, Scharnhorststrasse 1, 21335 Luneburg, Germany. ' Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Heimhuder Str. 71, 20148 Hamburg, Germany. ' Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Heimhuder Str. 71, 20148 Hamburg, Germany. ' Department of Sociology, University of Caen Basse-Normandie, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen cedex 05, France

Abstract: What would be the reactions of the public if nanotechnologies do not contribute to the economic growth and societal well-being? Similar questions have led philosophers, cultural and social scientists to explore the ethical and societal implications of nanotechnologies. They often call for more realistic expectations with regard to the promotion of nanotechnologies in society. If governments, firms and scientists have taken this argument into account, they still emphasise that nothing should hinder the nanotechnological innovation process. How would citizens react to such a promotional strategy of governments, firms, scientists? To address this question, we have conducted a comparative survey in March and December 2008 among people living in the cities of Grenoble (France), and Hamburg (Germany). Our results show that French and German interviewees react with scepticism towards the promotion of nanotechnologies in society. Significantly different motivations legitimise their scepticism, as well as their different image of nanotechnologies.

Keywords: promotional strategies; Europe; economy; society; perception; cultural differences; public reactions; nanotechnology promotion; economics; ethics; ethical implications; societal implications; nanotechnology innovation; France; Germany; scepticism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2010.031314

International Journal of Nanotechnology, 2010 Vol.7 No.2/3, pp.265 - 279

Published online: 29 Jan 2010 *

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