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Environmental Values

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

Tee Rogers-Hayden and John R. Campbell

Environmental Values 12(2003): 515-534. doi: 10.3197/096327103129341432

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'.

KEYWORDS: Genetic modification, environmental groups, Royal Commission, modernity, science

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Getting Behind Environmental Ethics. Robin Grove-White and Bronislaw Szerszynski

This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values. Reprints of this article can be ordered from ingenta or the British Library

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