Time matters: Temporal harmony and dissonance in nanotechnology networks

Cynthia Lea Selin

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Temporally bound concepts operate regularly yet opaquely in the management of new technologies. Emerging technologies are particularly caught in time and can be said to be in a process of becoming. Yet works concerned with innovation tend to leave time black-boxed as the future, the past and a now. What is missing is a recognition and confrontation of the diversity of temporal horizons and, more broadly, the constructions of time that are negotiated by heterogeneous actors within any technological frame. This article delves into the anatomy of time in new technologies and seeks to understand the coding mediations that occur in the nanotechnology arena. The case of nanotechnology – due to its emergent properties, affinity with science fiction and inexhaustible promises – is taken up with an analytic exploration of network participants’ perspectives on time. Departing from empirical evidence within the nanotechnology arena, the focus is to explore the meanings and dilemmas implicated in disparate temporal horizons.
    Particular emphasis is placed on the effects of temporal diversity latent in discourses of the future as they relate to the formulation of a new technological domain.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTime & Society
    Pages (from-to)121-139
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Expectations
    • Heterogeneity
    • Innovation
    • Nanotechnology
    • Timescapes


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