Date of Degree

2-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Sociology

Advisor

Lynn Chancer

Committee Members

Thomas DeGloma

Susan Markens

Kelly Moore

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health | Theory, Knowledge and Science

Keywords

nanotechnology, medicine, cancer, science and technology studies, nanmoedicine

Abstract

Nanotechnology is widely recognized as an important field. Since the 2000s, nano-based targeting has been a cutting-edge approach in cancer research. To specify what nanomedicine means and describe its significance at the cultural level, this study harnesses data from peer-reviewed articles published in leading scientific journals.

Balancing precariously between sociological theory and science and technology studies, this project turns to nanomedicine’s origins to address broader questions regarding the relationship between science and society and the causes of scientific discovery and technological innovation. It tells the story of nanotechnology's discursive formations taking on a life of their own and congealing into a zeitgeist or "spirit," as is reminiscent of the one described by Max Weber in The Protestant Ethic. It concludes that nanotechnology-based targeted delivery was not merely a scientific idea or a technical solution to the problem of cancer, but a broad cultural logic based on the waning of thinking in terms of warfare and blunt force, and the rise of an ethos centered around designing, creating and managing relationships, affinity, and engineering compatibility between things normally understood as incompatible.

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