Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard
Chapter 4: The Age of Regulatory Governance and Nanotechnologies
Roger Brownsword 4.1 INTRODUCTION In their introductory overview, Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard (2010) have highlighted seven particular regulatory challenges that they expect to be presented by the development and application of nanotechnologies. If we are to rise to these multifarious challenges, we need the right kind of regulatory environment – an environment that incentivizes the scientific and technical communities to improve their understanding and handling of nanomaterials, an environment that is properly geared to assess and manage risk as well as to ensure that the benefits of nanotechnologies are shared, and perhaps above all an environment that engenders public trust and confidence (Brownsword and Somsen, 2009). Hodge, Bowman and Maynard also flag the point that there is more to meeting a regulatory challenge than resorting to a hard law instrument – or, at any rate, to command and control forms of legal intervention. There is a sense in which regulation is broader than law. Yet, what exactly do we mean by ‘the regulatory environment’? And, once we know a regulatory environment when we see one, what is it that makes it the ‘right kind’ of regulatory environment for the development and application of nanotechnologies? These are the two principal questions to be addressed in this chapter. 4.2 WHAT IS A ‘REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT’? The age in which we live has attracted many descriptions – from the risk society, to the surveillance society, building (or, so some claim) to the crime society (Beck, 1992; Lyon, 2001; Koops, 2009). It...
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