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Karl-Mannheim Chair of Cultural Studies

Research Projects

Knowledge NBIC - Knowledge Politics and New Converging Technologies - A Social Science Perspective

Project Description

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 (that is, the converging science and technology fields biotechnology, nanotechnology, information and cognitive science) 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 scientific and 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 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


Project Duration

from 01.01.2006 through 31.12.2009

Project Head

Prof. Nico Stehr

Project Execution

Prof. Nico Stehr Ph.D., FRSC, Dr. Alexandra Hausstein, Jacquelyne Luce, Ph.D.


Europäische Union

Project-related Publications

  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Transgressive Governance: Articulating Future Possibilities in the Present. , 38th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology. Budapest, Hungary, June 26-30, 2008
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: The Politics of Governing Converging Technologies: Perspectives from Industry, Government and Civil Society, Knowledge Politics and Converging Technologies Conference. KNOWLEDGE NBIC Project Conference, Brussels, Belgium, 6-7 May, 2008
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Discussant. Policy Recommendations for Converging Technologies, Emerging and Converging Technologies (EMCOTEC) final project workshop. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium, 4 March, 2008
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Talking about Governance and Converging Technologies: Discursive Slips and Meaningful Disruptions, Office for interdisciplinary Nanotechnology Studies - NanoOffice, Technical University - Darmstadt, Germany, 3 July, 2008
  • Hausstein, Alexandra: Wissenstransfer und Wissenschaftlernetzwerke am Beispiel konvergierender Technologien, Workshop zur Deutsch-Chilenischen Wissenschaftskooperation, Talca, Chile, 9.-11.November 2007, 2007
  • Hausstein, Alexandra: Wissenschaftskooperation und Wissenschaftsregulation am Beispiel des Projektes KNOWLEDGE NBIC, DAAD Alumni Seminar, São Paulo, Brasilien, 7.-10. Juni 2007, 2007
  • Giorgi, Liana / Luce, Jacquelyne: Editorial. Converging Science And Technologies: Research Trajectories and Institutional Settings, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 2007, Jg. 20 (4): 307 - 311
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Bypassing Assessment: The Disappearance of 'Nano' in Everyday Life, in: Bora et al. (Hrsg.): Technology Assessment in der Weltgesellschaft, Berlin, Edition Sigma (Gesellschaft - Technik - Umwelt), 2007, 461 - 464
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Converging Technologies: Research Trajectories and Institutional Settings in Germany. WP 1 Annex to Deliverable 1. European Commission FP6 Project,, 2007
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: ‚Enabling’ Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Speculations on Converging Technologies and Technological Convergence in Germany, Society for the Social Study of Science (Montreal, Canada), 2007
  • Luce, Jacquelyne: Studying Converging Science and Technologies from Social Science Perspectives, Converging Technologies: Research Trajectories and Institutional Settings. KNOWLEDGE NBIC Project Conference, Vienna, Austria, 13-14 May, 2007
  • Hausstein, Alexandra: KNOWLEDGE NBIC, Projektmanagementkonferenz, Europäische Kommission, Brüssel, Belgien, 08.06 - 09.06.2006, 2006