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Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 11321-11344; doi:10.3390/su70811321

Seeing GMOs from a Systems Perspective: The Need for Comparative Cartographies of Agri/Cultures for Sustainability Assessment

1
GenØk Centre for Biosafety, Forskningsparken, PB 6418, 9294 Tromsø, Norway
2
Agroecology and Food Systems, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, c/de la Laura, 13, 08500 Vic, Spain
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 24 July 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 10 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2283 KB, uploaded 20 August 2015]   |  

Abstract

Over the past twenty years, agricultural biotechnologies have generated chronically unresolved political controversies. The standard tool of risk assessment has proven to be highly limited in its ability to address the panoply of concerns that exist about these hybrid techno/organisms. It has also failed to account for both the conceptual and material networks of relations agricultural biotechnologies require, create and/or perform. This paper takes as a starting point that agricultural biotechnologies cannot be usefully assessed as isolated technological entities but need to be evaluated within the context of the broader socio-ecological system that they embody and engender. The paper then explores, compares and contrasts some of the methodological tools available for advancing this systems-based perspective. The article concludes by outlining a new synthesis approach of comparative cartographies of agri/cultures generated through multi-sited ethnographic case-studies, which is proposed as a way to generate system maps and enable the comparison of genetically modified (GM) food with both conventional and alternative agri-food networks for sustainability assessment. The paper aims to make a unique theoretical and methodological contribution by advancing a systems-based approach to conceptualising and assessing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and proposing a synthesised methodology for mapping networks of relations across different agri/cultures. View Full-Text
Keywords: GMOs; biotechnology; agrifood systems; social cartographies; follow the thing; food networks; multi-sited ethnography; sustainability; socio-ecological systems GMOs; biotechnology; agrifood systems; social cartographies; follow the thing; food networks; multi-sited ethnography; sustainability; socio-ecological systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Herrero, A.; Wickson, F.; Binimelis, R. Seeing GMOs from a Systems Perspective: The Need for Comparative Cartographies of Agri/Cultures for Sustainability Assessment. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11321-11344.

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