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From a fossil fuel to a bio-based economy? Reframing the third wave of biotechnology

By Ben Richardson


White biotechnology involves the replacement of petro-chemical processes and inputs with more efficient and renewable biological ones. Within the European Union, the orthodox way in which these technological possibilities have been understood has been through the narrative of the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy. This has framed white biotechnology as a means of reducing environmental degradation and increasing economic competitiveness. In contrast, putative alternatives drawing on ecological modernisation and agrarian discourse have begun to draw attention to different political issues concerning its adoption. The paper concludes that these frames - dubbed 'ecological democracy' and 'the industrialisation of nature' respectively - offer an entry point for more radical voices in the social appraisal of white biotechnology and an incipient critique targeted at the elitism and macro-level impact of its techno-fixes

Topics: JA
Publisher: International Political Economy Group (IPEG)
Year: 2010
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