Is it really asking too much from our collective intellectuallife to devise, at least once a century, some new criticaltools? … The critic assembles … offers the participantsarenas in which to gather.--Bruno Latour, Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? 2004
Well Ordered ScienceScience serving a wider public good by choosingdemocratically-informed programs of research and techno-scientificdevelopment reflecting the values of scientists and citizens.
DEMOCRACY ANDSCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Science and The PublicWhat is meant by “the public” and by“science” in moments of techno-scientificcontroversy and engagement?
i) Explain unproductive patterns of pubic-scienceengagementii) Point to democratic possibilities for scientificknowledge development and dissemination withinscience-based institutionsThis approach has helped me:
2002I was practicing genetics andnoticed dissent against biotech anda pitched public debate.
Health Canada has said for years that [GE] can besafely used, and this is determined by the mostmodern scientific information … [GE technologies]are some of the most stringently regulatedproducts in Canada and only those products thatmeet Health Canada’s strict health and safetystandards are registered for sale and use … Thereality is that it simply isn’t logical to ban theseproducts.--Lorne Hepworth, CEO CropLife 2012
Dissent stems from theinability of the public tounderstand and agreewith expertsDEFICIT MODELHeavily criticized inintellectual and policycircles(Brossard & Lewenstein 2010)
DEFICIT MODELInforms interactions between policy-makers andconcerned publics in the creation of an expert-onlypolicy culture(see Shields & Sanders 2006; Montpetit & Rouillard 2008).
Taking [the public] seriously would meanpandering to a kind of rabid democracy … thepublic is incapable of weighing in on the complexscience [of biotechnology].Canadian Food Inspection Agency worker (quoted, Shields & Sanders 2006)
ETHNOGRAPHY (2002-4)Farmers involved in and around lawsuitsElmer Laird, 72 years, SK’s first organic farmerSchmeiser v. MonsantoHoffman et al. v Monsanto
This public was not against crop biotechnologies perse but the politics of knowledge surrounding them.A critique of democratic institutions that appear:i) closed to alternative risk assessmentsii) blind to the productive frameworks for regulatory science (ex.corporate data)
Biotechnology is a different value system. Thewhole value around clean fields, monocultures,maximizing production, not a weed in sight… it’s part of a general cultural bias whichpermeates the whole agricultural system fromresearch to implementation towards privatizing,standardizing and industrializing everything.Doug Bone, organic farmer, June 2003
But why, the farmers ask,• not study crop biotechnologies in theirbroader environmental contexts?• take a short-term timescale for riskassessment rather than a longitudinal view?• is there no process of public deliberationabout these decisions, thus invisibilizing thefact that these are decisions taken by peoplein particular social and political contexts?
USING THE LAW TOMAKE THEIRKNOWLEDGE andCONCERNS APPEAR asPOLITICALLY VALID.
This [declaration] would compel the Defendants tosubmit their engineered gene to a publicenvironmental scrutiny rather than the behind closeddoors approach they have been allowed to use withthe federal government’s regulatory bodies.(2004) Memorandum to Federal Court of Appeal, para. 17
HOW DO THE COURTS FAIR AS APROVING GROUND FORDIFFERENT THEORIES OF RISK?
CDA is a discourse analytical approach that primarilystudies the way social power abuse and inequality areenacted and reproduced by text and talk in the socialand political context.(Teun van Dijk 1998, 1)
INTERETIVE APPROACHScience is open to negotiation with other socialinstitutions and forms of knowledge (like legal,farmer/activist)Similar to STS scholar Sheila Jasanoff (see 1995) andunlike the majority of academic attention (c.f. de Beer2007; Garforth & Ainslie 2006; Muller 2006)Allowed me to chart the processes by which a certainconception of science was secured through thelanguage of the law in ways that link to power andsocial interests
1998Seed out-of-place =Contamination orIP Infringement?Schmeiser v. Monsanto
2004Schmeiser Loses5/9 Supreme Court rulingSchmeiser v. Monsanto
After growing canola over many years, Mr. Schmeiser hasdeveloped his own farming practices particular to the landthat he farms, which practices have withstoodexperimentation and the test of time(2001) Factum to the Trial Court, para. 14
Numerous samples were taken … A series ofindependent tests by different experts confirmed thatthe canola Mr. Schmesier planted and grew in 1998was 95-98 percent Roundup resistant. Only a grow-out test by Mr. Schmeiser in his yard in 1999 and byMr. Freisen did not support this resultmore significant [than Schmeiser’s or Mr. Friesen’stests] are the results of genetic testing by staff ofMonsanto U.S. at St. Louis(2004) Supreme Court of Canada, para. 64(2002) Federal Trial Court, para. 48
It may be that some RoudupReady seed wascarried to Mr. Schmeiser’s field without hisknowledge. Some such seed might have survivedthe winter to germinate in the spring of 1998.However, I am persuaded by evidence of Dr. KeithDowney…that none of the suggested sourcescould reasonably explain the concentration orextent of RoundupReady canola of a commercialquality evident form the results of tests onSchmeiser’s crop(2001) Factum to the Trial Court, para. 65
LEGAL DISCOURSE FURTHERSA VISION OF EXPERTISE ASLIMITED TO THE LAB AND OFTHE PUBLIC ASNON-KNOWLEDGEABLE.
LEGAL DISCOURSE FURTHERS ALACK OF PRODUCTIVEDIALOGUE ONBIOTECHNOLOGIES.
EXPERTISE IS IMPORTANT and was part of thecreation of landmark 20th century regulationsand regulatory institutions.BUT EXPERTISE LOSES LEGITIMACY when itsdecision-making frameworks are not madetransparent.
CITIZEN-SCIENCE How do you make decisions about investment?How do you decide which research questions to pursue?What timeline for risk considerations is appropriate?www.scorpiomasonry.com