Publics of GM crops: A transnational analysis of democracy in an era of globalising techno-science

In this project, Phd candidate Andreas Mitzschke studies the public controversies about genetically modified (GM) crops in India and Europe. He specifically looks at how various social groups construct the function and risk of GM crops, the politics of risk assessment, and the production of different ‘publics’ in the Indian and European debates. With his research Mitzschke scrutinises the normative dimension of GM technology by uncovering how actors in the debates articulate wider concerns about agrarian futures, democratic deliberation, and the politics of risk assessment. Critically scrutinising the notions constructed in the debates, he wants to understand the mutual shaping of technology and society in a globalised techno-scientific world.

Public participation and democratisation of science and technology have been prominent concerns in STS while central concepts and underlying models of democracy have not been made sufficiently clear. Through engaging STS and political philosophy, Mitzschke wants to (re-) focus on the concept of ‘publics’ and its transnational dimension. He intends to reveal linkages beyond India and Europe as confined geographical spaces and units of analysis. Not only technologies and actors travel, but also discourses, ideologies and forms of political opposition.

The public debate about uncertainty and risk of GM science and technology for agrarian change is a complex political issue. Through addressing issues of agriculture, democracy, and risk society, transnational linkages emerge between Europe and India. With this project Mitzschke wants to scrutinise how democratic political cultures in a globalised world get shaped by public involvement and GM crop technology alike.

PhD Candidate: Andreas Mitzschke
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ir. Wiebe Bijker
Dr. Anique Hommels
Dr. Esha Shah