Biotechnology Unglued
208 pages, 6 x 9
6 b&w illustrations
Release Date:01 Jan 2006
Release Date:23 Mar 2005
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Biotechnology Unglued

Science, Society, and Social Cohesion

UBC Press

Proponents of biotechnology claim that its advances will create abetter world -- one free of malnutrition and hunger, where bettermedical treatments will be available through gene discovery, and wheremore efficient policing will be possible with improved forensictechniques. While some biotechnological innovations do providesignificant benefits to individual users, their impact on society isoften poorly understood. Will these new technologies unravel, orperhaps realign, the social fabric as we know it?

Biotechnology Unglued explores this question in awell-considered investigation of the effects of technology on socialcohesion. The essays present case studies of how various applicationsin agricultural, medical, and forensic biotechnology have affected thecohesiveness of agricultural communities, citizens, consumer groups,scientific communities, and society in general. The contributors, froma range of backgrounds, demonstrate how particular kinds oftechnology-society and technology-corporate configurations affectsocial cohesion by creating cultures of surveillance, competition,social exclusion, and control.

The two faces of biotechnology are revealed throughout to show thepromises and perils associated with a range of innovations. Thebook’s reasoned commentary and engaging style will appeal toanyone interested in the social dimensions of biotechnology.

With its tight focus on social implications generally and social cohesion particularly, Biotechnology Unglued has a unique niche in the very ‘hot’ area of biotechnology. This focus is its strength and comparative advantage, and will set it apart from the rest of the literature, both existing and forthcoming. William Leiss, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
Michael Mehta is Professor of Sociology and Chair ofthe Sociology of Biotechnology Program at the University ofSaskatchewan.


1 Introduction: The Impact of Innovations in Biotechnology on SocialCohesion / Michael Mehta

2 The Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology on Social Cohesion /Michael Mehta

3 Agricultural Biotechnology and Developing Countries: Issues ofPoverty Alleviation, Food Security and Sustainable Development /Jacqueline Broerse and Joske Bunders

4 Legitimation Crisis: Food Safety and Genetically ModifiedOrganisms / Christopher Vanderpool, Toby Ten Eyck and CraigHarris

5 Genetically Modified Foods in Norway: A Consumer Perspective /Margareta Wandel

6 Commercializing Iceland: Biotechnology, Culture and theInformation Society / Kyle Eischen

7 Biotechnology and Social Control: The Canadian DNA Data Bank /Neil Gerlach

8 Biotechnology as Modern Museums of Civilization / AnnetteBurfoot and Jennifer Poudrier

9 The Production, Diffusion and Use of Knowledge in Biotechnology:The Discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genes / Robert Dalpé, LouiseBouchard and Daniel Ducharme



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