“Converging technologies” refers to the conjunction of two or more of nano, bio,information and cognitive (NBIC) technologies. Major current concerns about the emergence and impacts of these technologies are couched in terms very similar to those of previously new technologies. Efforts to identify, formulate and address the ethical, legal, social and economic implications of new technologies have characterised the human genome project in the 1990s; nanotechnologies; eResearch encompassing literature and the humanities; and genomics. These efforts are signalled by the emergence of various acronyms to denote the social (science) dimensions like ELSI, ELSA, SEIN.

This session aims to provide a critical assessment of our experiences as social scientists in engaging with converging technologies and with predecessor technologies such as nano. How successful has been the partition of expertise between the technical and the non technical? To what extent and in what ways has social science engaged with the technologies in focus? What kinds of new relations between social and natural scientists have emerged? Has social science managed to remain critical or has it been drawn into a subsidiary supportive role? Has its recruitment served(merely) to recruit more and new research, publics and support? This session invites empirical studies which reflect on the dynamics of engagement and disengagement with/from nano and converging technologies in research, policy making and governance. Some of the issues and questions that the panel will address include:

– Nano studies: doing ethnographic research on/with nano – The construction of relevant knowledges for (the governance of) nano and converging technologies – The nature of interdisciplinarity – A comparative US/EU perspective on ELSI – The politics of convergence – The performance and utility of ?business knowledge? for nano – Nano and NBIC convergence: new questions and issues for STS?

Confirmed speakers include: Steve Fuller (Warwick) Brian Wynne (Lancaster) Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Paris X) Ruth McNally (Lancaster) Alfred Nordmann (Technische Universität Darmstadt) Stephen Turner (South Florida) Dominique Vinck (PACTE Politique Organisations)

To help us organize the session, please contact us ([email protected]) with your abstract and title before February 7th. You will also need to submit your abstract through the regular procedure at the conference website http://www.4sonline.org/meeting.htm before February 16th.