If you have ever wondered about the risks of nanotechnology, and wanted to find a way of entering the debate, this is the book for you. The industry has adroitly avoided the regulator, so we don’t know what products contain nano particles. While claiming to herald the next industrial revolution, nano-advocates have argued that nano-production is no different from its life-size equivalent and requires no special regulatory oversight. Others beg to differ, and many appear as contributors for this important collection focused on the broad-scale sustainability impacts of the nano-revolution. Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability raises important questions of public legitimacy for technology, and how societal participation in our own technological future may develop beyond the current malaise. By forcing social and political issues into the nano-debate the collection creates new fields of dialogue around knowledge systems, their social and ecological impacts, and how they should be governed. The book asks how this democratisation of technological innovation can help us develop a sustainable society beyond the current ecologically destructive growth trajectory. The insistence that technology, including nano-technology, is a contingent social product, not a scientific given, is perhaps the book’s most important message. Society can, and should, shape the innovation that we need.
Donald Maclurcan is an Honorary Research Fellow with UTS’s Institute for Nanoscale Technology. His PhD, which looked at nanotechnology’s consequences for global inequity, was completed at UTS in 2010.