Societal embedding of nanotechnology

Course description

Course goal

  1. The student is able to describe current challenges in the societal embedding of nanotechnology.
  2. The student is able to describe concepts from science, technology and innovation studies referring to social mechanisms, processes and patterns structuring the societal embedding of new technologies.
  3. The student is able to relate and apply these concepts to cases in the domain of nanotechnologies and nano-based innovations.
  4. The student is able to develop a position of his or her own on contested issues related to the societal embedding of nanotechnologies and justify it by drawing on concepts, approaches and patterns presented in the course.


Turning nanotechnology into working and acceptable products and systems implies much more than proper technical functioning; it has to be actively embedded into society as well. New products and systems have to be integrated into existing socio-technical contexts, for instance users, practices and business environments; they have to be admissible according to national, international or sector-wide rules and standards, and they have to be accepted in the wider public.
In this course you will learn about and discuss current issues related to the societal embedding of nanotechnology, in particular the embedding of new products into specific application contexts, the governance of promises and risks, organization of responsibilities related to innovation, and the role of the public in the development of nanotechnology. You will get acquainted with social science concepts to approach these issues and learn about relevant patterns in the dynamics of the societal embedding of new technologies

Contact: Dr. K.E. Konrad