The Local Configuration of a Science and Innovation Policy: A City in the Nanoworld

Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 29)


Local trajectories and arrangements play a significant role because the development of a research field, such as nanoscience and nanotechnology, requires substantial investments in human and instrumental resources. But why are there often concentrated in a limited number of places? What dynamics lead to such concentration? The hypothesis is that there is an assemblage of heterogeneous resources through the action of local actors. The chapter will explore, from an Actor Network Theory (ANT) perspective, how the local emergence of research dynamics from: the revival of local traditions, the local and national action of institutional entrepreneurs, controversial dynamics, and researchers’ arrangements to involve other actors. It will examine how they connect up with each other and mutually commit themselves to the development of new technologies. It will focus on the role of narratives in this assembling: how were the local narratives of the past mobilized and to what effect.


Nanoscience Nanotechnology Assembling ANT Trajectory Cluster Science dynamics Institutional entrepreneurs Narratives Controversy 



This work was supported by the French National Agency for Research (ANR) and by the Rhône-Alpes Cluster 14 “Enjeux et Représentations des sciences, des techniques et de leurs usages”. I would like to warmly thank Martina Merz and Philippe Sormani, and the anonymous reviewer for their critical comments and suggestions. I am also grateful to my colleagues Alexandre Camus and Andréas Perret for their discussions and suggestions.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculté de Sciences Sociales et Politiques, Institut des Sciences Sociales, Quartier UNIL-MoulineUniversité de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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