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IRG 3-1a: Expert Interviews-NSE
(Hillary Haldane, Barbara Harthorn, Karl Bryant)
This research project focuses on nanoscientist and engineers’ (NSE) ideas about ‘responsible development’ of nanotechnologies. It provides more in-depth understanding of expert risk perception issues to complement findings from a larger sample collected in the web survey of NSE attitudes on toxicity and regulation conducted for the IRG 3 1-c project, NSE, Nanotox, NanoReg.
For this project, anthropologist Haldane collected interview data from NSEs in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast to examine aspects of gender and scientific labor from a cultural analytic perspective. Her chapter (with Bryant and Harthorn) in the CNS Social Life of Nanotechnology volume explores the interpretive labor of the social scientist as an interlocutor for science and society in the course of conducting such interviews. This research is being extended through additional interviews with NSE women and men based in in the Northeastern U.S., and will result in joint publications by the three researchers.
Key issues being examined include gender differences among experts in risk attenuation (which has potential implications for safety practices in laboratory settings), attitudes toward the public and media (which impact the quality and extent of scientist participation in essential science and society engagement activities), direction of tech development labor toward social goals and responsible practices, and organizational aspects of laboratory practice.