Fear of being irrelevant? Science communication and nanotechnology as an ‘internal’ controversy

part of Nanotechnologies and emerging cultural spaces for the public communication of science and technologies

How can technoscientific controversies be interpreted in terms of their public communication? This essay explores the case of nanotechnology to describe how one of the most innovative and cutting-edge technoscientific fields has moved from a grey goo scenario of PCTS that described similarities with biotechnology and GMOs, underlining the risks of potential conflicts between science and society, to the idea of an ‘internal’ controversy, that is a debate mainly present in discussions within professional groups. The conclusions suggest how the study of public communication of technoscientific controversies, and in particular of  internal controversies such as nanotechnology, has lead to consideration of the idea of moving from a risk frame in public participation initiatives to a more open discussion on daily life, work activities, technological innovation, cultural representations, art and others.