To Trump the Passions: The Use of Scientific Knowledge in the Introduction of New Gene Technologies in Europe

Finn Hansson, Maja Horst

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


    In June of 1999, several EU nations issued a joint declaration stating their intention to “take steps to insure that any approval for the sale or release of GMOs in Europe will be suspended.” This declaration is the basis of what has come to be known as the “de facto moratorium” on genetically modified organisms in Europe. In this paper we examine how scientific knowledge is used by proponents and opponents of gene technology in the context of European agricultural policy. We examine two broad categories of knowledge application in this sphere. On the one hand, scientific knowledge is used in the endeavour to “conquer nature” – that is, the uncovering of biological mechanisms that make possible the design of agricultural products (usually by way of engineering seeds that produce plants with specific traits.) On the other hand, scientific knowledge is deployed in political and cultural contexts in the endeavour to “conquer minds” – that is, support for both the ongoing research and the ultimate application of that research in the production of new crops must be garnered in the public sphere. The current state of public discussion on the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is illustrative of the way in which these two spheres interrelate. We will argue that both sides uses scientific knowledge in a way that does not acknowledge the social changes in relation to the production and use of scientific knowledge in modern society - a global risk society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2002
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    EventThird Triple Helix International Conference - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Duration: 26 Apr 200029 Apr 2000
    Conference number: 3


    ConferenceThird Triple Helix International Conference
    CityRio de Janeiro


    • Risk society
    • Risk assessment
    • Scientific knowledge
    • GMO
    • Biotechnology
    • Knowledge society

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