Nanotechnology and Global Equality: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Nanotechnology and Global Equality

1st Edition

By Donald Maclurcan

Jenny Stanford Publishing

300 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9789814303392
pub: 2012-03-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429109133
pub: 2012-03-27
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The book places nanotechnology’s emergence within a broad historical and contemporary global context while developing and testing an interpretive framework through which to assess nanotechnology’s claims. It clarifies the nature of global engagement with nanotechnology research and development, revealing surprising scenarios, unacknowledged by most mainstream commentators. The book concludes by exploring a range of perspectives from Thailand and Australia about nanotechnology’s foreseen implications for global inequity.


"Donald Maclurcan has drawn on the skills and knowledge of a range of disciplines to consider the complex question of the impacts of nanotechnology. He has assembled an impressive body of evidence to show that nanotechnology as presently developed offers little hope for a more equitable world. This is a very significant conclusion, as we are often urged to believe that new technology can help the development aspirations of poor countries. The subject is important, the writing is clear and the case is compelling."

—Prof. Ian Lowe - President, Australian Conservation Foundation

"Donald Maclurcan’s book provides a timely discussion about the implications of the emergence of nanotechnology for the global South, in a context in which technological innovation and global social inequality have been increasing hand in hand. Maclurcan addresses the topic in a well-balanced and evidence-supported way, exploring theories, discourses, quantitative data, and scientists’ and other stakeholders’ perspectives to assess if and how nanotechnology can contribute to a more equitable world. Written in direct and simple language, this book is relevant not only for academia but also for civil society groups and the broader public."

—Prof. Noela Invernizzi - Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

"Nanotechnology and its impact remain a black box. Although our understanding of the social, economic, environmental, public health and ethical outcomes associated with the expanding nano-industries is growing, gaps in our understanding remain. In this book, Dr Maclurcan makes a significant contribution towards filling the void in the contemporary understanding of the social justice dimensions related to research, development and commercialisation of nanotechnology, especially for the global South. Through the presentation of rich and detailed empirical data, and grounded in theories of development and technological change, Maclurcan provides valuable insights into the relationships between new technologies and hopes for a more equitable world."

—Prof. Kristen Lyons - Griffith University, Australia

Table of Contents


Central Questions

Overview of My Approach

General Limitations

Chapter Outlines




Development, Technology and Inequity

The Creation of Inequity and Establishment of Development Debates

Foundational Approaches

Contemporary Approaches

Conclusion and My Framework for Technological Assessment

Nanotechnology, Development and Inequity

Understanding Nanotechnology

The State of Play

Interpreting the State of Play: Instrumentalist versus Contextualist Perspectives

Innovative Capacity

Technological Appropriateness

Approaches to Governance


The State of Play

Global Engagement

An Exclusive ‘Global’ Nanotechnology Dialogue

Early Patent Control and Orientation


Understanding Nanotechnology



Near-Term Nanotechnology or Molecular Manufacturing?


Innovative Capacity

Understanding the Nanodivide and Its Constructs

The South Left Behind

New Opportunities


Technological Appropriateness

Benefits for the South

Contextual Challenges: Old Rhetoric, Old Reality

Societal Implications


Approaches to Technological Governance

How to Become ‘Nano-Innovators

Ensuring Appropriateness

Responding to Risks



Key Themes and Findings

Limitations and Further Avenues for Research

Implications and Recommendations


Justification of Interviewee Nationalities for My Qualitative Study

Health-Related Patent Classifications

Patent Rules

Top 10 Nanotechnologies for the Developing World (Singer et al., 2005)

World Bank List of Economies (April 2004)

Classification of Countries: Development Assistance Committee List of Aid Recipients, 2003 (adapted from OECD, 2003) 377

Thai Key Informant Details

Australian Key Informant Details

Key Informant Biographies (2004)

Responses from Thai Nanotechnology Practitioners

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General