Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Post-Political and Its DiscontentsSpaces of Depoliticization, Spectres of Radical Politics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Japhy Wilson and Erik Swyngedouw

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682973

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682973.001.0001

Show Summary Details

The Post-Political and the End of Nature:

The Post-Political and the End of Nature:

The Genetically Modified Organism

(p.48) 2 The Post-Political and the End of Nature
The Post-Political and Its Discontents

Larry Reynolds

Bronislaw Szerszynski

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the specific constellation of technology, politics and economics that seemed to take hold at the end of the twentieth century, through the story of a technology that was emblematic of the period – the genetically modified organism (GMO) as deployed in agricultural biotechnology. It first lays the grounds for this story by setting out the theoretical resources it will draw upon, including the recent political philosophy of the post-political, debates in science and technology studies (STS) about the democratisation of science, and Carl Schmitt’s theory of neutralisation and depoliticisation. It then considers the political-economic and cultural context which shaped the emergence of biotechnology in general and GM crops in particular, a context hidden behind narratives of neutral, autonomous and inevitable technological progress. The chapter then tells the story of the ‘release’ of the GMO onto the public stage, in three acts. Firstly it explores how the attempt to establish the orderly governance of the GMO was characterised by a purely technical and biophysical framing. Secondly, we see how this ‘neutral’ ground disintegrated, and forms of politics erupted within and around it. Thirdly, it explores how counter-moves attempted to establish a new neutral ground in choice, consensus and coexistence.

Keywords:   agricultural biotechnology, GMO, Regulation, post-political, Carl Schmitt

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.