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Title: Political innovation : corporations, controversy and genetically modified food
Author: Doubleday, R. V. L.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Public controversy over genetically modified (GM) foods illustrates the increasing complexity of the governance of technological innovation. In the light of public displays of ambivalence towards biotechnology, corporations are paying greater attention to societal concerns over the innovation of new technologies. This thesis asks how those corporations involved in the development and commercialisation of GM foods have understood and responded to recent public controversy over biotechnology in Europe and North America. Using approaches drawn from geography and science and technology studies, this thesis is concerned with concepts of citizenship and also with corporate identities in the context of technological controversy. This thesis focuses particularly on the ways that corporations have understood the emergence of citizen-like demands to participate in the governance of corporate innovation. The research for this thesis adopts an ethnographic approach to studying corporate engagements in public controversy. It uses the analysis of corporate texts, interviews and participation in meetings at which corporate presentations were made about GM foods. The empirical material for this thesis refers to three corporations: DuPont, Monsanto, Unilever and two agricultural biotechnology public relations groups: the Council for Biotechnology Information in the USA, and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council in the UK. This thesis argues that corporations have innovated new institutional forms of engagement with the public over biotechnology. These engagements have configured the 'socially responsible corporation* and the 'consumer-citizen' as actors in more democratic forms of corporate innovation. This thesis concludes that these new forms of governance are partial, fragile and contested, but that they offer potential avenues for further public debate about the governance of corporate innovation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available