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It‘s all about greenness - social experimentation with nanotechnologies Astrid E. Schwarz Workshop Converging technologies: Some pressing ethical issues July 22th, 2009 CAPPE, Canberra It‘s all about greenness - social experimentation with nanotechnologies

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it s all about greenness social experimentation with nanotechnologies

It‘s all about greenness - social experimentation with nanotechnologies

Astrid E. Schwarz

Workshop

Converging technologies: Some pressing ethical issues

July 22th, 2009

CAPPE, Canberra

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 1

it s all about greenness social experimentation with nanotechnologies2
It‘s all about greenness - social experimentation with nanotechnologies
  • Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“
  • Converging of eco and nano ?
  • Challenging pleasure and limits:

nanotechnologies and ecotechnologies

  • What kind of social experimentation?

Difference in experimental design: Germany and the US

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 2

it s all about greenness social experimentation with nanotechnologies3
It‘s all about greenness - social experimentation with nanotechnologies

If we suggest that green nanotechnology is not just an ephemeral or superficial societal phenomenon that owes its existence merely to campaign ploys, or advertising strategies, or the control of some global players

Then it is interesting to elaborate on the hypothesis that deeper lying societal and cognitive structures are at work here

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 3

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology processes
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Processes
  • - nanomaterials as catalysts for greater efficiency in current manufacturing processes (green chemistry principles)
  • the use of nanomaterials and nanodevices to reduce pollution
  • (e.g. water and air filters)
  • nanomaterials for more efficient alternative energy production
  • (e.g. solar and fuel cells)
  • synthesis of nanoparticles from microbes and also from dead or live plants

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 4

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology policy strategies
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Policy strategies

„Green Nanotechnology: It‘s easier than you think“

Report from the Woodrow Wilson Institut 2007

Project Director D. Rejeski about emerging technologies:

‘As instruments of sustainability nanotechnologies can only develop further if we promote the dissemination of green nano practices and technologies on a broad basis’

Researcher assure us that

„a strong marriage between nanotechnology and green chemistry/engineering holds the key to building an environmentally sustainable society in the 21st century“

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 5

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology policy strategies6
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Policy strategies

BARBARA KARN

(US Environmental Protection Agency, Fellow at Woodrow Wilson Institute)

  • Producing nanomaterials and products without harming
  • the environment or human health
  • Nanoproducts that provide solutions to environmental challenge

„Nanotechnology potentially is a doubly green dream. It offers us the opportunity to make products and processes ‚green‘ from the beginning“

„It allows us to substitute more environmentally-friendly chemicals, materials and manufacturing processes for older, more polluting ones“

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 6

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology products
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Products

The project of emerging nanotechnologies - Woodrow Wilson International Center

http://www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/consumer/

The project: An inventory of Nano-

technology-based consumer products currently on the market.

  • Three criteria for selection of products:
  • - They can be readily purchased by consumers
  • They are identified as nanobased by the manufacturer
  • - Nano-based claims for the product
  • appear reasonable

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 7

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology green nano products
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Green nano products?

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 8

labelling and occupying green nanotechnology products9
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Products

What makes the socks nano?

What makes the socks eco?

http://www.greenyarn.com/

- the eco-fabric contains nanoparticles of bamboo-carbon

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 9

slide10
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Products - Exhibition in 2007 „Nanotechnology in everyday life“

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 10

slide11
Labelling and occupying „green nanotechnology“Products - Exhibition in 2007 „Nanotechnology in everyday life“

Valorized socks: The Greenyarn socks as museum objects

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 11

convergence of eco and nano
Convergence of eco and nano ?

At the end of the day -

Are eco and nano mutually exclusive cultures ?

Or do we rather experience the convergence of eco and nano ?

NANO

- Technical innovation

- Technological optimism,

“joining in” the power of innovation

  • principles of pleasure and
  • transgressing limits

- Saying yes

ECO

- Heuristic of caution, conservation

  • Technological pessimism
  • eventually alarmist outlook on the world
  • principles of renunciation
  • and self-control

- Saying no

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 12

challenging pleasure and limits nanotechnologies and ecotechnologies
Challenging pleasure and limits: nanotechnologies and ecotechnologies
  • What ecotechnologies and nanotechnologies share:
  • Limits
  • acknowledge limits to growth - arguments
  • recommend strategies of control to disclose, perhaps new resources
  • beyond these limits,
  • recommend the precision control of flux of matter, of inputs and outputs,
    • and thus greater efficiency
  • - share the idea that, in order to preserve nature, we need to improve nature

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 13

challenging pleasure and limits
Challenging pleasure and limits

What ecotechnologies and nanotechnologies share either:

Pleasure of transgressing these limits

In same time it can be also detected a tension that comes with the very idea of an "unlimited potential"

- the limitless opportunities for innovation ("global abundance"), - harnessing of new energies ("hydrogen economies"),

- recreation of nature ("restoration ecology"),

- enhancement of efficiency ("synthetic biology")

foster excess rather than restraint

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 14

challenging pleasure and limits what kind of pleasure in science and technology
Challenging pleasure and limits What kind of Pleasure in Science and Technology ?

Plaisir and Jouissance (Roland Barthes 1975)

- Plaisir simply hints at an easygoing enjoyment of texts, more stable in its reeactment of cultural codes

- Jouissance calls up a violent, climactic bliss closer to loss, death, fragmentation, and the disruptive rapture experienced when transgressing limits

Truth and Pleasure (Arne Hessenbruch 2004)

Relation between public and science described in terms of truth. Change from a concern with truth to a concern with research relevant ot a market; pleasure might then be an appropriate conceptual term in addition to truth

„jouissance may well resemble the feeling of exhilaration prompted by nanohype

pleasure, in all its shades, may be found in scientific texts“

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 15

challenging pleasure and limits what kind of pleasure in science and technology16
Challenging pleasure and limits What kind of Pleasure in Science and Technology ?

Georges Bataille: Control, Jouissance and Expenditure

„Bataille is a thinker whose thought is infused, …, with what one branch of psychoanalysis would call jouissance. Except that here this term could not be simply glossed as ‚to come‘ or the experience of ‚coming‘ or ‚bliss‘, or - least of all - ‚enjoyment‘. Bataille‘s writing is both an anguished commentary on, and an instance of, jouissance in so far as jouissance can be understood as a mode of ‚expenditure‘ or dépense that, pushed to the limit of all reason, utility, morality, sense or meaning, takes experience itself, opening what was once oneself on to an apprehension of an impossible totality.

(Botting & Wilson 1998)

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 16

challenging pleasure and limits17
Challenging pleasure and limits

Permanent tension between acceptance and and transgression of limits

Pleasure (and not necessity or efficiency) is the driver of excess to push limits

  • - Resource constraints AND excess of matter (or products)
  • - Global limits to growth AND boundless spaces of possibilites

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 17

challenging pleasure and limits18
Challenging pleasure and limits

The pleasure of green products - transgressing limits

Changing conceptualizations of consumption

between the 1950ies and the 1970ies

shaping and being shaped by the environmental movement

From the flat culture of the mass market and a passive consumer

To the political consumer (Ulrich Beck 2005)

Consumers with an active, self-aware global citizenship and

with a „deep lifestyle“

To theLOHAS -Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability

www.LOHAS.com

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 18

challenging pleasure and limits the pleasure of political consumers and lohas
Challenging pleasure and limits the pleasure of political consumers and LOHAS

Sociologist Paul Rey (2000): The Cultural Creatives. How 50 Million Are Changing The World.

„Consumism“ (guiltless consumption) or „Power of Moralists“ (Nico Stehr) ?

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 19

being smart the pleasure of political consumers and lohas
Being smart - the pleasure of political consumers and LOHAS

LOHAS - Life Style of Healthand Sustainability

a market segment focussing on health and fitness,

the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice

LOHAS companies

"responsible capitalism" by providing goods and services

using economic and environmentally sustainable business practices

LOHAS consumers

„Lohasians“ are interested in products covering a range of market sectors and sub-sectors, including: Green building supplies, socially responsible investing and "green stocks", alternative healthcare, organic clothing and food, hybrid cars, eco-tourism etc.

… that is mainly in products produced on the basis of green technologies

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 20

slide21

What kind of social experimentation ?

Inventing and establishing new technologies:

trial and error with and within society

GMO, nuclear power plant, ecological restoration projects

- „the city as a social laboratory“ (Park 1929)

the development of the city as an ongoing process of

collective self-experimentation

- piecemeal social engineering (Popper 1945)

„the open society and its enemies“:

small social experiments help us to improve our knowledge

- „Society as a lab“ (Krohn and Weyer 1986)

Extending „scientific experimentation as a model for dealing with technical and

social uncertainties outside the narrow confines of the laboratory.“

- „real-world experiment“ (Krohn 2007)

“the paradox of not knowing before the experiment whether the social and ecological risks are acceptable.”

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 21

slide22

What kind of social experimentation ?

  • Collective experimentation as governance regime (2007)
  • EU Report Expert Group on Science and Government „Taking the European Knowledge Society Seriously“ (2007): Deliberative Experiment as Policy
  • - collective experiments combine knowledge and ignorance
  • experimental systems are open to deliberative design;
  • sensitive to interests and values
  • experimentation as a viable tool to sustainable activities in society,
  • not as a precondition of action, but as a result of learning

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 22

slide23

What kind of social experimentation ?

Having a closer look into the US laboratory

  • Back to the report: “Green nanotechnology: It’s easier than you think”
  • green nanotechnology is linked to green chemistry
  • being drawn almost in the sense of a natural evolution
  • - common aspects in institutional initiatives and individuals,
  • but also by way of a transfer of precepts from green chemistry to nanotechnology
  • - a model that has already been tried and tested and successfully established –
  • is transferred to a technology of the future -
  • and thus benefits from being placed on the solid ground of proven experience –
  • pre- empting the future, as it were, by way of the past.
  • - Just as discourse about the future is always simultaneously discourse about all things present, so too are expectations and fears of the future a crucial factor in decisions made in the present.

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 23

slide24

What kind of social experimentation ?

Having a closer look into the US laboratory

- Thus green nanotechnology is not something radically new or spectacularly unexpected; instead it is located in an already familiar experiential horizon, namely that of established green chemistry.

- Products and processes that embody this philosophy include water and air filters, top grade catalytic converters and solar cells. All these are established ‘green’ products that have rarely been associated with nanotechnologies to date, or at least not directly. However, the visibility of such ‘real products’ on the market significantly increases trust in the ‘greening’ of nanotechnology,

  • emphasis on downstream measures aimed at regulation and control

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 24

slide25

What kind of social experimentation ?

Having a closer look into the US laboratory

Rejeski from WWC (2007)

“The U.S. government needs a strategy for encouraging and stimulating green nanotechnology’”

  • The strategic package contains 13 points that are formulated as direct recommendations.
  • Just a few will be mentioned here:
  • strict quality control over the identity of nano products and methods claimed to be ‘green’;
  • increased support for university research in the area of ‘green nano’ and collaboration with industry;
  • use of federal capital for supporting ‘green nano’ products
  • (such as the US Department of Defense as well as administration
  • and the postal service)

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 25

slide26

What kind of social experimentation ?

Having a closer look into the German laboratory

  • In Germany the trend seems to be to proceed more along the lines of a co-evolutionary concept of shaping technology, though this is not made explicit.
  • - societal significance of grüne Nanotechnologie:
  • ‘potential for protecting the environment – enablers of new technologies’ -
  • a vote that is carried by an alliance consisting of politicians, business people and scientists
  • conception of a co-evolutionary shaping of technology (Bijker 1987, in the science policy discourse Rip 2002):
  • idea of mutual influence of technology and society
  • and processes of reciprocal appropriation
  • This is basically a bottom-upapproach that prepares the actors from the start for learning from one another and puts its faith in reflexive regulation by means of open learning spaces and institutionalised feedback.

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 26

coming to an end
Coming to an end ...

Eco- and nanotechnologies seem to share

a sense of necessity (and possibility) of monitoring

and eventually controlling every input and output of the production system,

thus pursuing the impossible dream of production

without waste, excess, abjection –

this opens new possibilities of both economic and material abundance

as well as guiltless consumption -

all of them sources and drivers of pleasure

In terms of collective experimentation aiming at „reflexive regulation by means of open learning spaces”

Green nanotechnology might become a viable and desirable

scientific, technological and political programme

22.7 2009 | Department of Philosophy | Astrid E. Schwarz | www.nanoOffice.eu | 27