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Hope for nanotechnology: anticipatory knowledge and the governance of affect

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This paper describes how hopes can be, and have been, placed in nanotechnology. Focusing on two recent UK government reports into the future of nanotechnology, by the DTI/OST and MoD, the paper describes how the disclosure of the nanoscale as a place subject to intervention, the act that is taken to define nanotechnology, can be understood in the context of anticipatory knowledge practices that create futures. Because the object of such practices are virtualities, such as opportunities and threats, the paper argues that affect is transversal to both nano-technoscience and anticipatory governance. In conclusion, I open up a set of questions about anticipatory knowledges and argue that the ground that enables hope to be placed in nanotechnology is the event that defines nano – to simultaneously reduce ‘life’ to matter and to multiply ‘life’ into a limitless set of materialities.

Keywords: affect; anticipatory knowledge; hope; matter; nanotechnology; non-representational theory

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, Email:

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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