New Agricultural Biotechnologies: The Struggle for Democratic Choice


In the contemporary global agrifood system, the emergence of a plethora of new agricultural biotechnologies poses a series of far-reaching social, technical and ethical consequences and contradictions. These tools have radically merged questions of design at the molecular level with those of agricultural change. With more possible technological paths than ever before, the new biotechnologies have made technology choice central in the discourse over the future of agriculture. Implicit in the choice of these technologies is a redesigning of nature that could profoundly transform the agrifood system, ecosystems, and the social organization of agriculture. Indeed, global food production and consumption currently stand on the brink of a fundamental alteration in organizational form, which conceivably could surpass the redistributional outcomes of twentieth-century industrialization of farming, agriculture and the food system.

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Copyright © 2002 Routledge. This chapter first appeared in Food in the USA: A Reader.

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