Governing with ambivalence: The tentative origins of socio-technical integration

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32 Scopus citations


Requirements to integrate societal considerations into research and development practices began appearing throughout the democratic industrialized world in the early 2000s and eventually became a central feature of responsible innovation. Examining one of the earliest and most prominent policy examples, this paper investigates the conceptual basis of the U.S. nanotechnology program's mandate for socio-technical integration. It argues that policy makers adopted this innovative response to addressing the societal issues of an emerging technology due to their heightened awareness of potential interactions among public attitudes, research directions, and technological trajectories. Integration thus emerged as a governance mechanism for mediating the interaction between these dynamic sources of uncertainty. The mandate emerged in a self-consciously experimental and anticipatory manner and thus provides a practical instance of tentative governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1149
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Ambivalence
  • Anticipation
  • Governance
  • Nanotechnology
  • Responsible innovation
  • Socio-technical integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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