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By H. Stephan

Along different elements, cultural values and identities support to provide an explanation for varied regulatory frameworks for genetically changed organisms. This ebook makes use of insights from environmental heritage and sociology to light up the cultural politics of law within the US and the ecu, with specific awareness to public opinion and anti-GMO activism.

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Extra info for Cultural Politics and the Transatlantic Divide over GMOs

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Furthermore, some GM inventions are likely to escape regulatory scrutiny altogether, unless the remit of the relevant agencies is broadened (Nature News 2013). For example, in 2011 the company Scotts Miracle-Gro developed a GM version of Kentucky bluegrass, commonly used for lawns, which promises reduced maintenance efforts. The novel genetic technique that was employed did not require the use of viruses or bacteria and, consequently, USDA declared that the plant did not fall within its remit. The GM bluegrass, as well as a string of GM innovations in the pipeline, would therefore remain unregulated and could freely enter the market (Nature 2011).

Commandeur et al. (1996) identified the root causes of this challenge as (1) different understandings of risk and (2) different interpretations of environmental impacts. Many (especially southern) member states had no dedicated legislation for biotechnology and the various scientific arguments put forward also displayed a conflict between narrow, ‘science-based’, and broader ‘social’ approaches to the regulation of new technologies. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Austria 28 Cultural Politics and the Transatlantic Divide over GMOs publicly advocated the inclusion of indirect environmental impacts and recognition of the wider consequences of agbiotech, such as socioeconomic questions and the goal of sustainable agriculture.

Europe’s regulatory framework reflects the heightened saliency of the topic in the European public sphere and provides a first indication of a profound transatlantic divide. 2). European policy-makers were inspired by the example of American self-regulation and sought to protect the scientific community from external regulatory interference. The first 17 years after the discovery of recombinant DNA were governed by a desire to allow biotechnology research to flourish (Grabner et al. 2001: 16). As the 1980s witnessed a resurgence of economic priorities and supply-side policy-making, the field of biotechnology assumed the status of a promising technological revolution that could boost European competitiveness and yield significant economic benefits (Gottweis 1998).

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