STS Circle at Harvard
Andreas Mitzschke, Maastricht University, will present on "Competing, Conflicting, and Contested Futures: Temporal Imaginaries in the GM Crops Controversy". Abstract: In the enduring controversy about the potential risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops, different actors construct competing visions of the future. These conflict over the envisioned impacts and consequences of this technology. In my presentation I show how various actors in the Indian and European GM crop debates are constructing sociotechnical imaginaries which they situate in temporal relations between past, present, and future. How risks and benefits are imagined to fundamentally change society’s future also relates to ideas about the present reality of agricultural relations and the history of agricultural development in India and Europe. Based on an analysis of documents and qualitative in-depth interviews, I argue that understanding the temporality of sociotechnical imaginaries allows us to address the competing normative dimensions of the debate more clearly. Further, I make the methodological proposition that the focus on temporality provides us with a different historical perspective on visions of socio-technical change.
Andreas Mitzschke studied European politics, political sociology, and STS at Maastricht University (NL), the University of Essex (UK), and the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (India). He holds a BA in European Studies (2008) and an MSc (research) Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (2010). Andreas is currently writing his PhD thesis at the Department of Society and Technology Studies in Maastricht, where he also teaches in various undergraduate courses. In his dissertation on public controversies about genetically modified crops in India and Europe, Andreas is studying how crop biotechnology and public involvement in this issue have shaped democratic political cultures in a globalised world. From a co-constructionist perspective, he scrutinises the mutual shaping of controversies about risk and ‘publics’. His comparative approach to techno-scientific cultures in the global North and South argues for the explicit inclusion of normative issues of democracy, imagination, and politics in debates about technological risks.
Lunch is provided if you RSVP. Please RSVP via our online form before Thursday morning, September 3rd.