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Re-negotiating Science in Environmentalists' Submissions to New Zealand's Royal Commission on Genetic Modification


  • Tee Rogers-Hayden
  • John R. Campbell


The debate about genetic modification (GM) can be seen as characteristic of our time. Environmental groups, in challenging GM, are also challenging modernist faith in progress, and science and technology. In this paper we use the case of New Zealand's Royal Commission on Genetic Modification to explore the application of science discourses as used by environmental groups. We do this by situating the debate in the framework of modernity, discussing the use of science by environmental groups, and deconstructing the science discourses evident within environmental groups' submissions to the Commission. We find science being called into question by the very movement that has relied on it to fight environmental issues for many years. The environmental groups are challenging the traditional boundaries of science, for although they use science they also present it as a culturally embedded activity with no greater epistemological authority than other knowledge systems. Their discourses, like that of the other main actors in the GM debate, are thus part of the constant re-negotiation of the cultural construct of 'science'.

Suggested Citation

  • Tee Rogers-Hayden & John R. Campbell, 2003. "Re-negotiating Science in Environmentalists' Submissions to New Zealand's Royal Commission on Genetic Modification," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 12(4), pages 513-534, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev11:ev1224

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    More about this item


    Genetic modification; environmental groups; Royal Commission; modernity; science;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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