This article is a tentative exploration of the early history of nanotechnology, focusing on the distinct meanings attributed to this field within the United States, Europe and Latin America. In assessing the patterns of nanotechnology on both sides of the Atlantic, this article identifies this field as a hybrid category, combining forms of social reflexivity, industrial organization, and localized histories of research and development. It is argued that such patterns are only understood by rendering nanotechnology as a category used by actors in defining practices, products and institutions rather than as a solid core of technical competencies. Some implications of holding this view are drawn for Latin America
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