Sustainable governance of emerging technologies-Critical constellations in the agent network of nanotechnology

Arnim Wiek, Stefan Zemp, Michael Siegrist, Alexander I. Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, feature considerable uncertainty regarding benefits that can be realized and unwanted side effects that ought to be avoided. Sustainable governance of emerging technologies addresses this issue from an integrated societal perspective that proposes collaboration among agents from science, business, government, and the public during the process of technological innovation and diffusion. In this paper, we present agent network analysis as a method to identify critical constellations in the agent network against the normative background of sustainable governance. Results from a transdisciplinary study on the agent network of nanotechnology in Switzerland reveal, among others, missing key agents, non-fulfillment of required functions, non-availability of required knowledge, and deviations between self- and cross-perception. The study contributes to methodological discussions on the formation of agent networks in science, technology, and public policy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-406
Number of pages19
JournalTechnology in Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Agent network
  • Cross-perception analysis
  • Emerging technologies
  • Nanotechnology
  • Sustainable governance
  • Transdisciplinary research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable governance of emerging technologies-Critical constellations in the agent network of nanotechnology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this