Cover of Nanotechnology by Kirsten Rodine-Hardy
Regulation at the Nexus of Environmental Politics and International Security
Kirsten Rodine-Hardy


February 2019
216 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9780804798518



Twenty years ago, scientists and policymakers proclaimed nanotechnology as the Fourth Industrial Revolution: it would cure cancer, remediate environmental destruction, and boost the economy. Shortly thereafter, over sixty countries created new national nanotechnology initiatives in order to capitalize on these promises. Why have some countries succeeded more than others in creating nanotechnology innovation? Until now, much of the literature on nanotechnology has focused on the science behind nanotechnologies, legal dimensions of risk, global governance, or country-specific studies of policies and regulation, revealing a key oversight: namely, the role of politics, transnational actors, and regulatory frameworks.

This book fills that gap, arguing that the innovation imbalance across countries can be explained by the fact that policy entrepreneurs act through global diffusion channels and national regulatory regimes. Kirsten Rodine-Hardy first establishes a theoretical framework to analyze trends in nanotechnology innovations in policies, markets, and regulations and to demonstrate how nanotechnology policies have diffused globally. Then, she applies this framework to comparative case studies in nanotechnology innovation, revealing the U.S.'s market-oriented and decentralized approach, the EU's government-led and precautionary approach, and developing nations' state-led—yet fragmented—approach. Ultimately, through its focus on the politics of nanotechnology, the book transforms our understanding of the nexus of global markets, environment, and security.

About the author

Kirsten Rodine-Hardy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University.