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The Controversy over GM Canola in Australia as an Ontological Politics

Rosemary Robins

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 185-208. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13303670567332


In this paper I examine the controversy over genetically modified canola (GM canola) in Australia as an ontological politics, drawing on recent work in Science and Technology Studies that extends actor-network theory and its commitment to the contingency of reality. I examine three different and overlapping performances of GM canola: as an agronomic object, a risk object and a market object. I focus on how each performance effects similarities and differences between GM and conventional canola that are productive of ontological distinctions that make GM canola controversial. I argue this analysis offers useful insights that are not revealed by more traditional explanations of controversy.


Gene Technology in Australia, genetically modified canola (GM canola), multiplicity, controversy, ontological politics, actor-network theory

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Ontological Politics: Mapping a Complex Environmental Problem.Michael S. Carolan

The Challenge of Scientific Uncertainty and Disunity in Risk Assessment and Management of GM Crops. Anne Ingeborg Myhr

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Green Economy, Red Herring. Clive L. Spash

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