The North American opinion climate for nanotechnology and its products: Opportunities and challenges

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A January 2005 telephone survey of 1200 people in the U.S. and 2000 Canadians provides a snapshot of current North American opinion regarding nanotechnology at this crucial early point in its emergence from the laboratory to the arena of public discourse and public understanding. Using a typology of “publics” developed through analysis of a previous comparative survey (Priest, S., 2006) and subsequently tested against these newer data (Priest, S., 2005) this article describes the opinion climate for nanotechnology across North America. The comparison of key results from the two countries helps illustrate how social and cultural differences contribute to reactions to new technologies, including nanotech. The article also discusses implications for nanotechnology-related public outreach and risk communication efforts.


Canada; Nanotechnology – Public opinion; North America; Risk communication; Social distance; Social groups; Social values; United States


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Science and Technology Policy | Science and Technology Studies

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