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Grounding global seeds: a contextual comparison of the politico-ecological implications of genetically modified crops for farming communities in Alberta (Canada) and Andhra Pradesh (India) Open Access

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Other title
Subject/Keyword
Andhra Pradesh
Warangal
Neoliberalism
Deskilling
Gene revolution
Global ethnography
Green revolution
Sustainability
India
Alberta
Environmental sociology
Genetically modified crops
Metabolic rift
Double movement
Canola
Socio-ecological crisis
Agrarian political ecology
Canada
Dispossession
Hegemony
Bt cotton
Biotechnology
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kumbamu, Ashok
Supervisor and department
Laxer, Gordon (Sociology)
Gismondi, Michael (Integrated Studies), Athabasca University
Examining committee member and department
Ikeda, Satoshi (Sociology), Concordia University
Otero, Gerardo (Sociology), Simon Fraser University
Hughes, Karen (Sociology)
Epp, Roger (Political Science), Augustana Faculty
Department
Department of Sociology
Specialization

Date accepted
2010-08-31T20:30:28Z
Graduation date
2010-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
The main objective of my dissertation is to analyze and compare the socio-ecological implications of the adoption of genetically modified (GM) seeds and alternative agroecological farming methods for farming communities in Alberta, Canada and Andhra Pradesh, India – localities situated in contrasting geopolitical, socio-cultural, and structural-institutional contexts in the global economy. For this research, the adoption of GM canola in Alberta and GM cotton in Andhra Pradesh are used as comparative case studies to explore the qualitative impact of agricultural biotechnology on farming communities. Many studies have examined the potential impact of GM crops, but few have looked beyond economic cost-benefit analysis. In this dissertation, I examine social and cultural aspects of farmer decision-making in the adoption of the new seed technology, farmer receptivity to new cropping methods, knowledge translation between laboratory and farmer, and the impact of global knowledge-based technology on local knowledge systems, socio-cultural practices, the nature-society relationship, and gender relations. I use a global ethnography methodology and draw on a series of field interviews with farmers to provide sociological insight into how global processes of the “Gene Revolution” impact different farming communities in different localities in the world-economy. In this dissertation I argue that the debate about the new agricultural technologies (e.g. GM seeds), the environment and agrarian crises should not be narrowed to the question of new technologies per se. Rather it should be understood from an agrarian political ecology perspective articulating political economy (neoliberal governance at global, national and provincial levels, and the processes of dispossession of primary agricultural producers from their means and conditions of production), socio-cultural systems (the construction of hegemonic discourse about genetically modified organisms, agricultural deskilling, gender relations), and ecosystems (a process of mastering nature, monoculturization, environmental risks, metabolic rift) in the context of neoliberal globalization. My fieldwork study of the “Gene Revolution” provides closer, more fine-grained research and analysis of its impacts with sensitivity to local class and status, gender and cultural issues, and the ways in which farmers’ technology adoption decisions can dramatically alter overall quality of life, local knowledge systems, community development, the sustainability of agriculture and the ecosystem itself.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3QD41
Rights
License granted by Ashok Kumbamu (akumbamu@ualberta.ca) on 2010-08-25T05:27:40Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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