Challenges and Opportunities of Nanotechnology and Other Technological Advances for the Health and Environment.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 6A P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology (host committee)

Language: English and Spanish

The session is focused on the relationship between state, market, science and technology, and also the challenges that social sciences face when dealing with new technologies, with an emphasis on nanotechnology applied in health and food. The central point is the relationship between technological innovation, the new sociotechnical systems, knowledge democratization and governance. In the case of nanotechnology this thread is more than necessary, because it is a technology that works at the level of the invisible, once it becomes possible to operate and manipulate even atoms. 
The big challenge is that menaces we may be unaware of could be lying under this scientific discovery. The aforementioned manipulation could bring risks for humans and the environment; risks that are not clear because scientific investigations in nanotoxicity are still very incipient. This way, it is necessary to reflect on the implications of these innovations in multiple instances of public life, because, as Edgar Morin warns us, “Science has become very dangerous to be left in the hands of statesmen [...]. Science became [...] a problem of the citizens”. It is social science’s role to investigate these issues, and yet demystify false promises, propose public policies that actually meet the interests of the majority of the population, especially the poorest, demanding regulatory frameworks based on the precautionary principle.
Session Organizer:
Tania SILVA, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil
Imagining Nanotechnology in Public Engagement – the Power of Analogies
Claudia SCHWARZ-PLASCHG, University of Vienna, Austria
Contested Futures and Smart Technologies
Débora LANZENI, IN3-UOC, Spain; Elisenda ARDEVOL, IN3-UOC, Spain