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Not Another GMO - Explaining Europe’s Approach to Nanotechnologies

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  • Nico Jaspers
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    Abstract

    Despite early warnings about knowledge-enabled mass destruction and the ongoing battle over agricultural biotechnology, the development of nanotechnology in Europe has been remarkably quiet over the past decade: non-governmental organization (NGO) campaigns against nano were all but inexistent and the wider public appears largely uninterested in nanotechnology. Why has Europe’s experience with nanotechnologies been so fundamentally different from that with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? This article argues that differences in the technologies as such cannot fully explain this divergence. Instead, a convergence of interests across key groups of stakeholders, the institutional evolution of the European Union (EU) and the experience from the GMO case enabled and facilitated a highly anticipatory and proactive approach to nanotechnology risk governance. This approach, marked by early capacity building, stakeholder involvement and gradual regulation succeeded in avoiding public polarization and in promoting a responsible development of nanotechnologies.

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    File URL: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/kfgeu/kfgwp/wpseries/WorkingPaperKFG_44.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Free University Berlin in its series KFG Working Papers with number p0044.

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    Date of creation: 13 Sep 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:kfgxxx:p0044

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    Web page: http://www.transformeurope.eu/

    Related research

    Keywords: new technologies; NGOs; regulations;

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    1. Marjolein B. A. van Asselt & Ellen Vos, 2008. "Wrestling with uncertain risks: EU regulation of GMOs and the uncertainty paradox," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1-2), pages 281-300, January.
    2. Kerber, Wolfgang & Eckardt, Martina, 2005. "Policy learning in Europe: The 'open method of coordination' and laboratory federalism," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 48, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
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