Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca

paulo_fonseca (at)

Paulo Fonseca is a Visiting Research Fellow with the Harvard STS Program for the 2014-2015 academic year. Paulo obtained a PhD in Sociology, through the Program “Governance, Knowledge and Innovation” of the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, where he has also been a Junior Researcher. With a B.D on Physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and a M.D on Social Studies of Science and Technology at the University of Salamanca, Paulo´s research interests have centered on the co-production of governance mechanisms related to emerging technologies in peripheral and semiperipheral countries.

Paulo´s PhD thesis, which addresses the practices of research and governance of nanotechnology in Brazil and Portugal, develops a co-productionist account about the meanings of responsibility, present and absent, in these semiperipheral contexts. It suggests the pertinence of considering the plurality of epistemic foundations to responsibly govern nanotechnology in distinct contexts.

While at Harvard, Paulo is working on the project “Refining Oil into development: Sociotechnical imaginaries and the Brazilian Pre-Salt”, which investigates features and implications of the recently discovered oil and gas reserves in the oceanic sub-salt layer off Brazilian coast, colloquially known as the ‘Pre-Salt’. The research will characterize and discuss the co-production of the sociotechnical imaginary associated with the Pre-Salt project, providing a reflexive description of how the interplay of distinct conceptions about energy and development are performing specific governmental, institutional and technoscientific arrangements currently faced by Brazilian society.

Recent publications:

Fonseca, P.F.C.; Pereira, T.S.  (2014), “The governance of nanotechnology in the Brazilian context: Entangling approaches”, Technology in Society, 37, 16-27 Available online at <>.

Fonseca, P.F.C.; Pereira, T.S. (2013), “Emerging Responsibilities: Brazilian Nanoscientists’ Conceptions of Responsible Governance and Social Technology Practices”, in Konrad, Kornelia, Christopher Coenen, Anne Dijkstra, Colin Milburn, and Harro van Lente (org.), Shaping Emerging Technologies: Governance, Innovation, Discourse. Berlin: IOS Press / AKA, 49-66


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