Genetically modified or transgenic crops are controversial across the world. Advocates see such crops as crucial to feeding the world’s growing population; critics oppose them for pushing farmers deeper into ecological and economic distress, and for shoring up the power of agribusinesses. India leads the world in terms of the intensity of democratic engagement with transgenic crops.
Aniket Aga explores the genealogy of conflicts of interest and disputes over truth that animate the debate in India around the commercial release of transgenic food crops. The debate may well transform agriculture and food irreversibly in a country already witness to widespread agrarian distress, and over three lakh suicides by farmers in the past two decades.
Aga's research on seed companies, the government, farmers, and environmental NGOs, illustrates how the state, science, and agrarian capitalism interact in novel ways to alter the manner in which democracy is lived and understood. The book sheds light on the dynamics of technological change in unequal polities.
Genetically Modified Democracy will be of interest to students and scholars of agriculture, politics, science, and society, environmental and farmers’ movements, sustainability, and biotechnology. It will also interest readers concerned about small farmers and the future of farming and food.
Aniket Aga is associate professor of environmental studies at Ashoka University and Krea University. His research won the 2016 Sardar Patel Award from the University of California Los Angeles, and the 2019–20 Bharadwaj-Wolf Prize from the Journal of Peasant Studies.
List of Abbreviations
2 Revolution of the Chemists
3 The Bureaucratic Consolidation of Biotechnology
THE GOVERNMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
4 Regulating GM Crops
5 Emergence and Deepening of Activism against GM Crops
REMAKING AGRARIAN CAPITALISM
6 Profiting from Seeds
7 Merchants of Knowledge
8 Genetically Modified Democracy
‘…delivers a deeply textured analysis of India’s scientific enterprises, regulatory agencies, and home-grown businesses in the GM revolution. The result deftly complicates global accounts of the GM controversy.’
Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz.
‘Anyone interested in the intersections of science, policy and democracy in the Global South will find Genetically Modified Democracy a fascinating case study. Anyone interested in the future of the world’s most populous democracy and its agrarian crisis will find many important insights.’
Ian Scoones, co-director STEPS Centre, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
‘With sensitivity and analytical insight, Aniket Aga lays bare the invisible links between governmental ambitions, science-technology claims, and civil society assertions in India’s agriculture.’
A. R. Vasavi, Social Anthropologist and Independent Researcher.