Proponents of biotechnology claim that its advances will create a
better world -- one free of malnutrition and hunger, where better
medical treatments will be available through gene discovery, and where
more efficient policing will be possible with improved forensic
techniques. While some biotechnological innovations do provide
significant benefits to individual users, their impact on society is
often poorly understood. Will these new technologies unravel, or
perhaps realign, the social fabric as we know it?
Biotechnology Unglued explores this question in a
well-considered investigation of the effects of technology on social
cohesion. The essays present case studies of how various applications
in agricultural, medical, and forensic biotechnology have affected the
cohesiveness of agricultural communities, citizens, consumer groups,
scientific communities, and society in general. The contributors, from
a range of backgrounds, demonstrate how particular kinds of
technology-society and technology-corporate configurations affect
social cohesion by creating cultures of surveillance, competition,
social exclusion, and control.
The two faces of biotechnology are revealed throughout to show the
promises and perils associated with a range of innovations. The
book's reasoned commentary and engaging style will appeal to
anyone interested in the social dimensions of biotechnology.
Michael Mehta is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology of Biotechnology Program at the University of Saskatchewan.
Acknowledgments 1 Introduction: The Impact of Innovations in Biotechnology on Social Cohesion / Michael Mehta 2 The Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology on Social Cohesion / Michael Mehta 3 Agricultural Biotechnology and Developing Countries: Issues of Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Sustainable Development / Jacqueline Broerse and Joske Bunders 4 Legitimation Crisis: Food Safety and Genetically Modified Organisms / Christopher Vanderpool, Toby Ten Eyck and Craig Harris 5 Genetically Modified Foods in Norway: A Consumer Perspective / Margareta Wandel 6 Commercializing Iceland: Biotechnology, Culture and the Information Society / Kyle Eischen 7 Biotechnology and Social Control: The Canadian DNA Data Bank / Neil Gerlach 8 Biotechnology as Modern Museums of Civilization / Annette Burfoot and Jennifer Poudrier 9 The Production, Diffusion and Use of Knowledge in Biotechnology: The Discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genes / Robert Dalpe, Louise Bouchard and Daniel Ducharme Contributors Index