Original Paper


, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 87-98

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Centre and Periphery of Nano—A Norwegian Context

  • Kåre Nolde NielsenAffiliated withGenØk—Centre for Biosafety Email author 
  • , Trond Grønli ÅmAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • , Rune NydalAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


This work describes the nano field in Norway as currently emerging in the dynamics between two forms of nano research activities described along a centre-periphery axis. 1) There are strategic research initiatives committed to redeem the envisioned potential of the field by means of social and material reorganisation of existing research activities. This activity is seen as central as it is one of our premises that the standard circulating nano vision implies such a work of reorganisation. The fact that nano is often taken as a paradigmatic example of the shift from Mode-1 to Mode-2 research, supports this assumption. 2) In parallel to this activity, a wide variety of research projects pursuing nano strategies are being funded. We regard such research activity as peripheral in so far as the activity is not marked by being committed to the circulating nano vision, as may often be the case. In the process of reorganising, this article argues, the research activity at the periphery provides a crucial arena for discussing and validating what is to be achieved through the work of reorganisation that takes place at the centre. Our analysis is informed by two Norwegian cases. We examine a major nano research initiative at a Norwegian university as a centre and a research project utilising nanoparticles in fish vaccines as a periphery.


Centre and periphery Conceptualisations of nanotechnology Mode-1 and Mode-2