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Democratizing agri-biotechnology? European public participation in agbiotech assessment

Levidow, Les (2009). Democratizing agri-biotechnology? European public participation in agbiotech assessment. Comparative Sociology, 8(4) pp. 541–564.

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Anticipating or responding to European public concerns over agbiotech, state bodies have sponsored participatory exercises in technology assessment (TA). Some participants have sought to open up technological decisions vis-à-vis alternative futures and normative choices, but such efforts have been marginalized; the trajectory of biotechnological innovation has been protected from challenge. Questions about agbiotech as control have been displaced and channeled into regulatory issues and control measures. To some extent, participatory TA exercises have helped to hold governments accountable for regulatory criteria, but not for innovation choices. These participatory TA exercises generally internalize assumptions about agbiotech as societal progress. Despite aspirations to democratize technological choices, the exercises tend to biotechnologise democracy. The prospects for democratization depend upon wider, autonomous forms of participation – neither sponsored nor welcomed by state bodies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 Brill NV
ISSN: 1569-1330
Keywords: participatory technology assessment; agricultural biotechnology; consensus/citizens conference; lay expertise; deficit models;
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 18712
Depositing User: Les Levidow
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2009 08:12
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2013 00:31
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