Redesigning the architecture of policy-making: Engaging with Māori on nanotechnology in New Zealand

Debashish Munshi, Priya A. Kurian, Debashish Munshi, Talei Morrison, and Sandra L. Morrison

Although there is an extensive literature on public engagement on the use of new and emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, there is little evidence of the participation of marginalised indigenous communities in processes of such engagement. How do particular cultural values and worldviews shape the perceptions of new technologies among such indigenous peoples? This article addresses this question through an analysis of the deliberations of an indigenous Māori citizens’ panel on nanotechnology in Aotearoa New Zealand. An active process of public engagement with the nation’s Māori stakeholders, and their conversations with nanotechnology experts, sustainability activists and Māori researchers, helps map an alternative, culture-based architecture of public engagement on policies around new technologies. The analysis is grounded in a concept of active citizenship that we term ‘sustainable citizenship’.

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