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Biotechnology and the Politics of Truth: From the Green Revolution to an Evergreen Revolution

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JournalSociologia Ruralis
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2005
DatePublished (current) - 24 Nov 2005
Issue number4
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)360-379
Early online date24/11/05
Original languageEnglish


This paper investigates why and how issues around the diffusion of GM technologies and products to developing countries have become so central to a debate which has shifted away from technical issues of cost-benefit optimisation in a context of uniform mass production and consumption in the North, to the moral case for GM crops to feed the hungry and aid ‘development’ in the South. Using comparison between agricultural biotechnology and the ‘Green Revolution’ as a cross cutting theme, the contributions of this paper are threefold. Firstly, by analysing biotechnology as a set of overlapping frames within a discursive formation, four frames are identified which summarise key challenges presented by biotechnology era. Secondly, the use of Foucault's concept of bio-power to synthesise key themes from the frame analysis illuminates the ‘revolutionary’ nature of the biotech revolution. Thirdly, the potential of actor-network theory to provide a tools for the empirical study of processes of (re)negotiation of nature/society relations in the context of agricultural biotechnology controversies is explored.

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