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Knowledge Politics and New Converging Technologies; A Social Science Perspective.


The KNOWLEDGE NBIC project is a study into the knowledge and anticipated social consequences emerging from the NBIC fields, using a social scientific perspective. We propose to look into the patterns of NBIC knowledge production as well as the actual and potential use of and social resistance to such knowledge. In terms of knowledge production, our attention will focus on charting the institutional settings in which the NBIC fields are pursued and promoted.

Relevant questions include: Who are the key actors involved? How do they figure in the overall ecology of both academic knowledge and socially relevant technologies? What funding mechanisms are used to promote convergence or synergy among different technological fields? Given the different origins of these fields, when and why did they start to 'converge' and to what extent? With respect to the use of and resistance to this knowledge, we will be concerned in particular with the growing moral, political and economic pressure to regulate, to police or even forbid novel knowledge as well as technical devices emerging from NBIC technologies.

Such pressures have already become apparent in Europe and elsewhere with regard to biotechnology as well as stem cell research and similar concerns are beginning to be voiced with reference to nanotechnology. The new convergence technologies can be expected to raise similar if not more accentuated concerns in that they promise an integration of biological reproductive processes, mental mechanisms of learning and information management at the nanoscale. Our proposed activities are exploratory at this stage as very little is as of yet known about the 'converging' component of 'converging technologies', especially from the social scientific perspective. For this reason, our project will combine exploratory studies with networking activities in order to build up a community interested in this emerging S&T field of study.

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Am Seemooser Horn 20

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Participants (6)