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Kelly Bronson – ‘From GMOs to big data: the curious disappearance of food politics’
September 25, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
From GMOs to big data: the curious disappearance of food politics
Kelly Bronson, Canada Research Chair in Science and Society, uOttawa
Many scholars have made sense of opposition to genetically engineered (GE) organisms as contextual: these tools are judged in their historical linkages with poisonous agricultural chemicals (like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane/DDT), and with the corporations responsible for the production of such chemicals who now sell GE seed systems.
This paper pivots around a central question: If agribusinesses like Monsanto appear to be investing away from their chemical heritage and into the business of big data, why does activism not appear to follow? I will proceed in a comparative mode and underscore what remains intact under the current “digital revolution” in agriculture, notably vis-à-vis power inequities.
I will conclude with a conjecture that widespread “data fundamentalism” answers to our current cultural moment—one of intense epistemic and political uncertainty—and allows the politics of big data to operate under the radar.
Kelly Bronson is a Canada Research Chair in Science and Society at University of Ottawa. She is a social scientist studying science-society tensions that erupt around controversial technologies (GMOs, fracking, big data) and their governance. Her research aims to bring community values into conversation with technical knowledge in the production of evidence-based decision-making. She has published her work in regional (Journal of New Brunswick Studies), national (Canadian Journal of Communication) and international journals (Journal of Responsible Innovation, Big Data and Society).