Nanotechnology: Mapping the wild regulatory frontier

Diana M. Bowman, Graeme A. Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This paper examines the phenomena of nanotechnology and takes some tentative steps towards defining new regulatory frontiers within which this technology may operate. While nanotechnology has attracted much attention with respect to its scientific and business potential, debate on associated ethical, policy, regulatory and legal aspects has been limited. This paper builds on the conceptual frameworks of Ayres and Braithwaite [Responsive Regulation: Transcending the Deregulation Debate, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992] and Grabosky [Discussion paper: Inside the pyramid: towards a conceptual framework for the analysis of regulatory systems, International Journal of the Sociology of Law, 25 (1997) 195-201], in order to address the regulatory challenges posed by the novel properties and products emerging from nanotechnology. The paper considers the current regulatory frameworks that impact upon nanotechnology in Australia, and concludes that there is an emerging regulatory gap between the exciting commercial advances being made in this sector and the community's expectations for regulatory safeguards and protections. The paper also concludes that, unlike earlier technologies, there is now a unique opportunity to carefully consider the benefits as well as the impacts of nanotechnology before it arrives. This will require clearer articulation of policy, regulatory and legal frontiers crucial to the emerging nano-age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1073
Number of pages14
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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