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Consuming biotechnology. Innovation, regulation and resistance in the food industry - The case of Norway.

Skodbo, Sara; (2003) Consuming biotechnology. Innovation, regulation and resistance in the food industry - The case of Norway. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis addresses the need to 1) develop theoretical approaches and methodological tools with which to understand the socio-cultural processes through which modem genetic technologies develop, and 2) to provide broad-based ethnographic accounts of technological change that take account of the inherent complexity of such processes. In seeking to explore how genetic technologies emerge in western societies my research addresses the following questions, amongst others: How are 'global' technologies such as genetic food technologies experienced and made meaningful at the local level? In this global-local meeting, how do innovators, regulators and consumers interact and influence the emergence of new biotechnologies? What methodologies are best suited to the empirical investigation of such complex fields? The thesis presents case studies of central actors involved in genetic innovation, regulation and resistance in Norway. The thesis looks first at daily practices surrounding biotechnology regulation, providing examples of the governance of genetics. The thesis secondly presents data from the biotechnology industry in general and examines the internal culture of the sector. Thirdly, data are provided from a case study of a food company involved in genetic engineering research and development. Fourthly, the thesis examines consumer activities, through a case study of a consumer association. Finally, environmental activists and umbrella organisations are examined in some depth. The thesis offers an anthropological analysis based on examining the hidden, underlying cultural issues found to lie at the heart of conflicts surrounding genetic technology. Thus for example, tension between values of hierarchy (expertise) and consensus decision-making processes (the Scandinavian 'passion for equality') are revealed to condition actors' responses and to deeply influence technological decision-making at every point. The thesis also proposes a methodological model to meet the need to empirically account for these types of complex processes, which cut across global/local economic, political, cultural boundaries.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Consuming biotechnology. Innovation, regulation and resistance in the food industry - The case of Norway.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103922
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