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Pros and cons of the bioeconomy: a critical appraisal of public claims through Critical Discourse Analysis


  • Sodano, V.


In this paper Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is used to uncover hidden political agenda and value systems concealed behind the alleged “value-free” discourse of EU and US governments on the bioeconomy. The main assumption of the paper is that the claimed social benefits of the bioeconomy, far from relying on sound scientific arguments (as stated in government documents), are instead false promises made in the interest of profits of powerful transnational companies (TNCs). The analysis is carried out on four publications which represent the voices of proponents (the EU and US governments) and the opponents (the two civil society organizations, ETC group and Global Forest Coalition) of the bioeconomy. The results of text analysis indicate that all the four texts exhibit some ideological biases. Nevertheless, pro bioeconomy documents prove to be far more ideologized than those against. The general conclusion of the research is that the debate on the risks and benefits of the bioeconomy needs to be cleansed of the ideological prejudices that characterize both its supporters and opponents and instead enriched with transparency and democratic political confrontation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sodano, V., 2013. "Pros and cons of the bioeconomy: a critical appraisal of public claims through Critical Discourse Analysis," 2013 Second Congress, June 6-7, 2013, Parma, Italy 149895, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aiea13:149895

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    bioeconomy; discourse analysis; ideology; neoliberalism; Environmental Economics and Policy; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; Q01; Q58;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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