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Updated: July 12 2017The overarching aim of “Structure, Agency, Biotechnology: The Case of the Rothamsted GM Wheat Trials” is to propose a way of filling the analytical gap found in the current literature by offering an original theoretical framework. This framework is able to assess both the content and context of the scientific field without resorting either to deterministic or to what theorists refer to as “conflationist strategies.” In order to demonstrate the heuristic value of the framework, the 2012 GM wheat field trials carried out by Rothamsted Research, often associated with the “second push” of agribiotech firms to bring Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the UK, are assessed, and key aspects of the experiment are underscored. At the same time, the broader institutional arrangements, key ideological constructs and the social order are examined, and a reframing of the controversy which moves beyond the simplistic conceptualization of it being a case of science versus politics is suggested. The volume also proposes a clear set of guidelines, which stem from the methodological and theoretical deep structure of the suggested framework but do not demand prior theoretical knowledge, which can be used by a wider audience engaged with biotechnology. This audience can draw on the guidelines either for reasons of developing a critical understanding of particular situations or for initiating the process of sustained dialogue between involved parties. These two dimensions are of great significance for practical policy orientations.
About the Author
Aristeidis Panagiotou is a researcher at the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), Greece.
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