Narratives of Mastery and Resistance: Lay Ethics of Nanotechnology

Author(s)
Sarah R. Davies, Phil Macnaghten
Abstract

This paper contributes towards a lay ethics of nanotechnology through an analysis of talk from focus groups designed to examine how laypeople grapple with the meaning of a technology ‘in-the- making’. We describe the content of lay ethical concerns before suggesting that this content can be understood as being structured by five archetypal narratives which underpin talk. These we term: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’; ‘kept in the dark’; ‘opening Pandora’s box’; ‘messing with nature’; and ‘be careful what you wish for’. We further suggest that these narratives can be understood as sharing an emphasis on the ‘giftedness’ of life, and that together they are used to resist dominant technoscientific and Enlightenment narratives of control and mastery which are encapsulated by nanotechnology.

Organisation(s)
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Journal
NanoEthics
Volume
4
Pages
141-151
No. of pages
11
ISSN
1871-4757
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11569-010-0096-5
Publication date
2010
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
509017 Social studies of science
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/narratives-of-mastery-and-resistance-lay-ethics-of-nanotechnology(1d597925-fae8-45ba-a0f3-0f77a99ef3ec).html