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Imagining nanotechnology: cultural support for technological innovation in Europe and the United States

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This paper compares public perceptions of technologies in the United States and Europe. Asked whether nanotechnology will improve our way of life, 50 percent of the US sample say "yes" and 35 percent say "don’t know." The European figures are almost the mirror image, 29 percent saying "yes" and 53 percent saying "don’t know." People in the US are also more optimistic than Europeans about eight more familiar technologies. We suggest that people in the US assimilate nanotechnology within a set of pro-technology cultural values. By contrast, in Europe there is more concern about the impact of technology on the environment, less commitment to economic progress and less confidence in regulation. These differences in values are reflected in media coverage, with more emphasis on the potential benefits of nanotechnology in the US than in the UK. Finally, we speculate on possible futures for the reception of nanotechnology in the US and Europe.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/21009/

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