Genetically Modified Organisms as Politicizing Products?

  • Guido Ruivenkamp
Part of the LITES - Legal Issues in Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies book series (LITES, volume 2)


The development of biotechnology and agrobiodiversity and food diversity influence each other mutually. In this contribution the development of (agro-industrial) biotechnology is analyzed as being shaped and shaping the social conflict on the emergence of agro-industrial food chains. It is argued that biotechnology is related to a spatial transformation of agro/food production, strengthening three historical processes of separation and establishing new techniques of governing human and particularly scientific workers (immaterial labor). It is argued that biotechnological products—seeds, enzymes, biocatalysts and microbiological produced food components—are politicizing products creating new social relations in global food systems and establishing a new biopower system, shifting politics from policy-makers to the domain of science and technology.

However, it is also argued that the emergence of this new system of biopower through the politicization of biotechnological products embedded in the spatial reorganization of food production is challenged, it is suggested, by the development of a space to maneuver with multiple practices of resistance, transforming the politicizing products of biopower into catalysts for multiple, location-specific developments. The contribution concludes by reflecting on these practices of resistance and rewriting the embodied political content of agro-industrial biotechnology and to transform it into tailor-made biotechnologies related to the perspectives of agrobiodiversity and food diversity. Conversely, the contribution focuses on the question whether and in which ways a critical-reconstructive approach can be applied to agro/food biotechnology.


Biotechnology Biopower Biopolitics Space Agrobiodiversity and food diversity 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Ruivenkamp
    • 1
  1. 1.SADE, University of WegeningenWegeningenThe Netherlands

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