Hybrid Geographies: Natures Cultures Spaces

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Sarah Whatmore

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    Dedication

    for

    Denys E. Whatmore

    You embark; you make the voyage; you reach port: step ashore, then. *

    * Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Book Three]. Penguin edition, 1964: 55. Translated by M. Staniforth. Penguin Books, London.

    List of Figures and Table

    • 2.1 Siting the Roman games (2nd century AD) 17
    • 2.2 Mosaic reliefs immortalizing Africanae bestiae in combat 18
    • 2.3 Pixelled web image of Caiman latirostris ‘in the wild’ 20
    • 2.4 Becoming leopardus in the networks of the venatio25
    • 2.5 Organizational relations in global wildlife management 28
    • 2.6 Becoming Caiman latirostris in the networks of sustainable use 30
    • 3.1 Duchess's entry in the European inventory of Loxodonta Africana41
    • 3.2 Paignton Zoo Environmental Park brochure 43
    • 3.3 Feeding time at the elephant enclosure, Paignton Zoo 46
    • 3.4 Earthwatch Annual expedition guide49
    • 3.5 Earthcorps briefing map of ‘Okavango Elephant’ project field sites 52
    • 3.6 Botswana's elephants: an Earthwatch ‘wildlife experience’ 55
    • 4.1Terra nullius I: the violence of ‘settlement’ 65
    • 4.2 Mabo: history makes the headlines 70
    • 4.3 Official map of land tenure in Post-Mabo Australia 74
    • 4.4 ‘Rednecks’: the pastoralist as metropolitan caricature 84
    • 4.5Terra nullius II: pay the rent 89
    • 5.1 Action Aid poster campaign: ‘This will make you sick’ 94
    • 5.2 Governing PGR: ‘the Global system’ 96
    • 5.3In situ centres of plant genetic diversity 102
    • 5.4Ex situ genebank collections of plant genetic diversity 103
    • 5.5 De/re-territorialising plant genetic resources 115
    • 6.1a Arco Seed Company advertisement from the late 1980s: ‘Our taste is a product of culture’ 122
    • 6.1b Cartoon from France Soir from the late 1990s: ‘Le secret alimentaire’ 122
    • 6.2 The soybean's nitrogen fixing root nodule 127
    • 6.3Glycine max: the soybean in the pod 129
    • 6.4 Roundup Ready™ crop notice in an Illinois field 131
    • 6.5 Frankenstein as the popular face of GM protests in the UK 134
    • 6.6a ‘The two-headed grocer’ 139
    • 6.6b ‘The GM vegetable answers back’ 139
    • Table 2.1 Performing the wild 32

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    This book has been some time in the making. I have tried to hold on to some sense of this energetic fabrication in the writing which weaves my journeying in the space/times of this research through all manner of sustained and chance encounters with others whose assistance and company afford quite different tacks. I am pleased to be able to acknowledge at least some of these many debts without divesting myself of any responsibility for what follows. These journeys began in 1993 under the auspices of a Global Environmental Change Fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (award no. L320273073). An early version of chapter 7 was written during this fellowship, which also supported the research on which chapters 4 and 5 are based. The research for the chapters in section 1 was funded by another ESRC research grant 1996–97 (award no. R000222113), while the award of a Haggett Fellowship in 1999 by the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol facilitated the research for chapter 6 and enabled me to write a large part of this book.

    I am grateful to numerous colleagues and friends for ongoing conversations or specific engagements with versions of one or more of the chapters that follow. In this regard, I would like to thank Kay Anderson; Trevor Barnes; Nick Bingham; Fred Buttel; Noel Castree; Gail Davies; David Demeritt; J.D. Dewsbury; Margaret Fitzsimmons; David Goodman; Kevin Hetherington; Steve Hinchliffe; Jane Jacobs; Owain Jones; Jack Kloppenberg; Doreen Massey; Mike Michael; Marc Mormont; Jon Murdoch; Phil O'Neill; Bronwyn Parry; Andrew Sayer; Pierre Stassart; Lorraine Thorne; Nigel Thrift; and Michael Watts. Two people warrant particular mention. First, Lorraine Thorne who has shared with me many of the passionate curiosities and strange journeys ventured here, not least as coauthor of earlier versions of chapters 2 and 3 which she has generously allowed me to re-work for the purposes of this volume. I remember our floor-scale ‘back of the envelope’ diagramming fondly, and miss it still. Secondly, Nigel Thrift whose polymathic energies and enthusiasms have fostered an intellectual current of experimentation at Bristol that has nourished my work, alongside many others, over the years to which this book owes much. If academic work were always such serious fun.

    I am also indebted to several people for contributing various forms of expertise solicited in the production of this book. Simon Godden and Jonathan Tooby at Bristol worked with skill and good humour on the figures and illustrations. The library staff at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and the Australian Parliament in Canberra were endlessly helpful in furnishing my documentary requests. Pepe Esquinas-Alcazar kindly made available his rich records and remembrances of the political career of the Commission for Plant Genetic Resources and guided me through the FAO labyrinth. Dr Brian Johnson at English Nature; Dr Amy Plowman and staff at Paignton Zoo; and Mr Geoff Wilson at the Earthwatch Institute, Oxford, all made themselves and various materials available amidst busy schedules. In addition, a number of academic institutions have been generous hosts of study visits and/or workshops which have enriched my thinking. In particular, I would like to thank faculty and graduate students in the Department of Rural Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz; in the Department of Geography at the University of Newcastle (NSW); and in SEED (the Société, Environnement et Developpement research group) at the Universitaire Luxembourgeoise, Arlon.

    As an editor Robert Rojek at Sage has been a model of patient encouragement throughout the protracted writing of this book. More than this, his commitment to the project has spurred me on at difficult moments. It is also to his talent for making connections that I owe the cover. In this regard, I am much indebted to Caroline Tisdall who generously agreed to the use of one of her series of Beuys/Coyote photographs and to Robert Violette of Violette Editions who made the image available for reproduction. I would also like to thank Claire Roberts at Sage for her patient work in securing reproduction rights to this and other images in the book.

    Finally, I must thank Keith who has borne the brunt of my prolonged preoccupations with characteristic forebearance; Tom and Anna who have indulged them during their visits; my parents who have been unfailingly supportive even when their needs have been much greater; Jan and Jo whose love and friendship has kept me going through it all; and Meg and Dillon who have kept me company during the long hours at ‘the top of the house’. I dedicate this book to my father, who did not live to see its completion but whose life shapes mine still in so many enduring ways.

    The author and publisher wish to thank the following for permission to use copyright material:

    The Saarland Museum (Saarbrucken, Germany) for Figure 2.2, Auguet R., ‘Cruelty and civilisation’.

    The European EEP, for Figure 3.1, ‘Current wild population of loxodonta africana’, 1997.

    Paignton Zoo Environmental Park (Paignton, Devon) for Figure 3.2, ‘Giving Animals a Home They Deserve and a Place You Enjoy’, 1997.

    The Earthwatch Institute, Center for Field Research (Massachussetts, USA) for Figures 3.4 and 3.6 from the Earthwatch Annual Expedition Guide.

    Andrew Ireland, for Figure 4.1, ‘A Perfect Case of Terra Nulltus!’, first reproduced in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Mike Bowers, for Figure 4.2, courtesy of The Age.

    John Shakespeare, for Figure 4.4, first reproduced in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Sandy Scheltama, for Figure 4.5, courtesy of The Age.

    ActionAid, for Figure 5.1, reproduced with kind permission.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (Rome, Italy), for Figure 5.3, ‘The twelve megacentres of cultivated plants’, and for Figure 5.4, ‘The world's major national plant gene banks’, both first reproduced in ‘Harvesting Nature's Diversity’, 1993.

    ARCO Seed Company, for Figure 6.1a, ‘Our good taste is a product of culture’, first reproduced as company advertisement.

    Trez, for Figure 6.1b, his cartoon ‘Le Secret Alimentaire’, first reproduced in France Soir.

    National Geographic, for Figure 6.3, for permission to reproduce photograph of soya bean taken by Chris Johns.

    Greenpeace, for Figure 6.4, for permission to reproduce photograph ‘Roundup Ready’.

    The Guardian, for Figure 6.5, for use of a photograph of a GM Protest march first reproduced in The Guardian.

    Colin Wheeler, for Figure 6.6a, his cartoon ‘GM Maize’.

    David Austin, for Figure 6.6b, his cartoon ‘GM Potato’

    The author and publisher would also like to acknowledge the original source of material adapted for use in this volume:

    Figure 2.1, adapted by the author from C. Scarre, (1995) The Penguin historical atlas of ancient Rome, The Penguin Group, New York.

    Figure 4.3, adapted by the author from Gelder, K. and Jacobs, J.M. (1998) Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, University of Melbourne Press, Melbourne.

    Figure 6.2, adapted by the author from Rost et al., (1994), ‘Redefining the goals of protein secondary structure prediction’, Journal of Molecular Biology, 235, 13–26.

    Every effort has been made to trace all the copyright holders, but if any have been overlooked, or if any additional information can be given, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary amendments at the first opportunity.

  • Notes

    1 For example, environmental sociology (Hannigan, 1995); environmental anthropology (Descola and Palsson, 1996); environmental history (Bird, 1987); and environmental politics (Dobson and Lucardie, 1995).

    2 Of course there are notable exceptions to this generalization. Massey (1999b) provides a useful survey of, and intervention in, these ongoing conversations.

    3 There are remarkable echoes in Fitzsimmons's critique of Marxist geographers' ‘peculiar silence on the question of nature’ of Merleau-Ponty's critique of the ‘astounding’ lack of attention of Marxist philosophers to the question of nature (1970: 63). Still the most important exception to this ‘silence’ identified by Fitzsimmons is Neil Smith's book, Uneven development (1990/1984).

    4 For a critique of dialectical analysis within the geographical fold, see Castree's critique (1996) of Harvey's treatment of nature (1996). On a larger canvass, Cary Wolfe's Critical environments explores the problem for Marxist dialectics in terms of the dilemmas of retaining a strong sense of contradiction without it degenerating into ‘mere antinomy’ or falling into the false assurance of some notion of teleological inevitability (1998: 132).

    5 The significance of this stance is that it unsettles any account which is inclined to render messy fragile net-workings as slick consolidated totalities like Science, Capitalism, or the State and, so, recovers a myriad of life-size orderings overshadowed by their heroics (see Gibson-Graham, 1996). The description of such ontological stances as ‘modest’ is first, and best, made by John Law (1994), but see also Callon and Latour (1981). The term ‘situated knowledges’ is, of course, Donna Haraway's (1991a), but it has been widely misconceived as an argument about localizing positionality (for useful clarification, see also Haraway, 2000: 71).

    6 While publications do not capture the half of these conversational networks some useful way-markers include review essays (Murdoch, 1997a, 1997b); a retrospective on ANT by ‘practitioners’ (Law and Hassard, 1999); and two journal special issues published in 2000 – Society and Space (18/2) on ANT (edited by Hetherington and Law) and Body and Society (6/3–4) on ‘bodies of nature’ (edited by Macnaghten and Urry). See also Michael (2000).

    7 I have some problems with amalgamating the diverse countercurrents to the humanist assumptions of social theory into a singular notion like Nigel Thrift's ‘non-representational theory’ because of the irresistable tendency for ‘it’ to be reified along the way – in the manner of ANT. However, in so far as it provides a serviceable ‘flag of convenience’ that fosters conversations and alliances between diverse theoretical projects and impulses that variously challenge ‘I think before I act’ conceptions of social agency and freight more radical means to register the heterogeneity of social life then I am content to sail under it.

    8 The net-workings of ANT are reminiscent of the ‘rhizomatics’ of Deleuze and Guattari (1988), a connection on which Latour comments directly in an interview with Crawford (1993: 262).

    9 As the term bio-philosophy implies, the contributions of biologists and philosophers are thoroughly mixed in this enterprise. For example, contemporary biologists like Margulis and Fester (1991), Matuarana and Varela (1992), Goodwin (1994) and Rose (1997) have made striking contributions to these debates.

    10 The cognitive and linguistic competences that conventionally define the fully-fledged subject and social actor are patriarchal constructs from which various categories of ‘humans’ have been, and are still being, excluded. Moreover, their status as the distinguishing mark of ‘humanity’ is troubled by the comparable skills of other classes of animals (notably, primates and cetaceous mammals) and broader reassessments of animal cognition (see Ingold, 1988b; Noske, 1989).

    11 Merleau-Ponty died working on a new philosophy of nature that was elaborating an ‘account of Earth as an intertwining (after Husserl) and enfolding of humans within nature that is an embrace’ (Johnson and Smith (1990: xxxi). Some preliminary sense of this project can be gleaned from the collection of his lectures (1952–60) in which ‘nature’ is one of his themes (Merleau-Ponty, 1970).

    12 Some years after graduating from UCL, I returned as a research assistant and so crossed the threshold of the staff common room through a door with the inscrutable nameplate ‘Maconochie Room’. It was here that I first encountered Australia. Overseeing the daily rhythms of coffee, sandwiches and talk was, and still is so far as I'm aware, a short rank of monochrome (male) figures, commemorating the passage of eminent professors. Most celebrated among them was Captain Alexander Maconochie, first Professor of geography at UCL in the 1830s, Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society in 1833 and onetime Governor of the penal colony on Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania) in the 1840s, but dismissed for his pursuit of a reformist agenda (Clay, 2001). The very same. In that ‘first encounter’ cartographies of empire and discipline collided with my own itinerant childhood spent among various of Britain's faded military outposts, tripping over the unspoken colour-coded cordons of daily life.

    Section 1: Introduction

    1 A series of variously negative responses to Cronon's essay were published in a special issue of Environmental History in 1997. Both the temper and substance of these responses attest to the deeply-rooted place of the wilderness ideal in the institutional fabric and popular culture of North America, particularly the United States, that Cronon sought to expose as dangerous ‘habits of thinking’ (1995: 81).

    2 See also the interventions of the Luke's Eco-politics (1997) from a North American (US) perspective, and Ferry's Le nouvel ordre écologique (1992) from a European (French) perspective.

    3 The exception is a rather fragile line of interest in domestication that links, in very different ways, the work of Geographers like Ian Simmons (1996) and Robin Donkin (1989) and more recent post-colonial cultural geographies (e.g. Anderson K., 1997; Willems-Braun, 1997) with the cultural geography of Carl Sauer (see, Leighly, 1963) and the bio-geography of the 1950s and 1960s (e.g. George, 1962).

    1 Ridley Scott's blockbuster movie Gladiators, released a year or so after an earlier version of this chapter was published, provides a telling reminder of the enduring fascination of the Roman gladiatorial spectacle in western popular culture. The camera works to incorporate the cinema audience into the spectatorial ranks of those in the amphitheatre, seducing them/us into sharing the visceral passions of the event.

    2 Modern biology, informed by cellular ultrastructure through electron microscopy and detailed knowledge of gene sequences, is rewriting these longstanding classificatory systems (Sagan, 1992). See, for example, Margulis and Schwartz (1982) and Woese et al. (1990).

    3 While species interactions have become the credible subject of Ecology, and the social dynamics of animal groups have attracted some passionate exponents, the funding priorities and professional culture of the biological sciences remain wedded to a Cartesian conception of animal life as enumerable biological units of interest primarily in terms of their aggregate population trends or genetic diversity (Senior, 1997).

    4 Interestingly, the taxonomy of such cat-like creatures in the modern zoological science that superseded the vagaries of this Roman nomenclature is itself under assault from genomic classificatory methods (see note 2 above). Recent evidence presented at the American Genetics Association, for example, has suggested that the phenotypic menagerie of 32 sub-species of Puma (including panthers and cougars) compromises only six genetically distinguishable subspecies (Pennisi, 1999: 2081).

    5 As Jennison points out, some degree of crowd-pleasing poetic licence seems likely to be associated with the phrase ‘African beasts’, particularly in the Augustan age and later, making it less than reliable evidence of precise geographic origins (1937: 53).

    6 Toynbee (1973) makes clear that such ‘realistic’ depictions of animal hunts and venationes have to be seen in the context of a much larger repertoire of animal art, particularly mythological and pastoral renditions but also commemorative depictions of companion animals among the Roman elite, especially horses and dogs.

    7 Grove (1995: 20) notes that by the reign of Emperor Claudius (AD 41–54) the river Tiber had silted up to such an extent that most commercial port activities had to be shifted from Ostia to Civitavecchia.

    8 There are parallels here with the earnest turn to science in the debate about banning stag hunting in the UK to determine whether or not these animals ‘really’ experience trauma and fear in the chase and at bay by proxy measurements of hormonal and chemical levels in their bodies (Bateson, 1997). This is a classic example of what Ted Porter (1995) calls the ‘pursuit of objectivity’ in science and public life.

    9 See Doyle (1997: 28) for an engaging example of this kind of slippage in the excitable language of genetic engineering involving the metonymic substitution of ‘code-script’ for organism in Schrodinger's treatment of the ‘Chromosone’. It is a slippage much in evidence in the hyperbole surrounding the USA/UK science establishment's launch of the ‘draft blueprint of the Human Genome’ (Guardian supplement, 26/6/2000).

    1 I accept that this technical tendency, or what Latour calls ‘double-click’ networks (1999b: 20), is a rather hackneyed translation of ANT but, nonetheless, the socio-technical emphasis is real enough in the corpus of work that pays allegiance to this potent acronym.

    2 It is not that those working with ‘ANT’ have ignored non-human life forms, one has only to think of Callon's scallops (1986), Latour's microbes (1988) or even elephants themselves (Cussins, 1997), but rather to note the striking contrast in the kinds of non-humans that figure overwhelmingly in ANT accounts as against those in feminist science studies.

    3 A sub-species of Loxodonta africana – L. a. cyclotis – has been described in the forests of west Africa, smaller in size than its more numerous savannah relatives (Kingdon, 1997).

    4 Whether by accident or design the ISIS acronym mimics the name of the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility.

    5 Thus, for example, the accidental death of a keeper in the elephant enclosure at London Zoo in 2001, led to the re-location of the elephants to a wildlife park and the closure of one of the zoo's most popular visitor attractions.

    6 The research at Paignton Zoo which informs this chapter coincided with the filming of a six-part BBC documentary series on the working life of zookeepers which was first broadcast in the spring of 1998.

    7 Earthwatch projects span archaeology, palaeontology, geology and anthropology as well as life sciences. But the majority of field projects, about 87 of the 127 projects in the 1997 brochure and some 63 per cent of the total number of volunteers concern animal, plant, bird or marine life, and ecology (Scientific Officer, interview 10/11/97).

    8 The appearance of Earthwatch on a special edition of the Holiday travel programme on BBC1 (16/11/99), with television personality Charlie Dimmock, suggests that this ambivalence remains salient even after the relaunch of Earthwatch as an Institute.

    9 For a fuller exposition of this medical research, see Berg and Mol (1998).

    Section 2: Introduction

    1 This latest rupture in the legal fabric of property is often traced to a battle in the US courts in the late 1970s between John Moore, asserting rights to property in his person, and the medical centre at UCLA, asserting rights to intellectual property in the ‘Mo cell line’ derived (without his consent) from his spleen. The medics won (see Rabinow, 1992b). The Human Genome Project affords a more recent and concerted example of this ‘vampire’ mode of bio-prospecting (see Cunningham, 1998), stimulating the US Patent and Trademark Office to issue some 1,250 patents on human gene sequences in the last two decades of the twentieth century (Anderson L., 1999: 79).

    2 This insistence is shared but differently framed and pursued in liberal (e.g. Reeve, 1986), Marxist (e.g. Tribe, 1978) and post-structuralist (e.g. Kelley 1990) accounts (for a discussion, see Shapiro I., 1991).

    1 For example, Paul Carter (1987) cites the journals of Captain James Cook and the botanist Sir Joseph Banks about their encounters with Australia aboard the Endeavour (Banks Sir J., The Endeavour journal 1768–1771, J.C. Beaglehole (ed.), 1962. Sydney; and Cook J., The journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery, Volume 1: ‘The voyage of the Endeavour, 1768–1771’, J.C. Beaglehole et al. (eds), 1955. Cambridge). Ross Gibson (1992) cites the letters of early colonists like Thomas Watling which first appeared in his native Scotland in 1794, Letters from an exile at Botany Bay to his aunt in Dumfries and is now available in Foss P. (ed.), 1988. Island in the stream. Pluto Press, Sydney). William Lines (1991) cites the journals of Surveyor Generals Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell whose explorations of the Murray basin in the 1820s and 1830s recorded daily encounters with Aboriginal people, sometimes upwards of 200 in number, while still claiming to discover an uninhabited country (Sturt C., 1834 (2nd edition). Two expeditons into the interior of southern Australia. 2 volumes. Smith Elder & Co., London); and Mitchell T.L., 1839. Three expeditions into the interior of Eastern Australia. 3 volyumes, vol. 2. T & W. Boone).

    2 These shifting renditions of the ‘state of nature’ and its inhabitants ‘natural man’ were by no means uncontested. Secular natural law theories met constant challenges from various currents of dissenting Christian moral discourse, from the Spanish Thomists during the fifteenth and sixteenth century Spanish colonization of Latin America (see Pagden, 1987) through to the philanthropic crusades against slavery and the abuse of Aboriginal peoples in late eighteenth-and nineteenth-century England. These impulses were perfectly compatible with colonialism as the same moral discourses underwrote the promulgation of Christianity as a ‘civilizing’ force, but by the end of the nineteenth century their currency had been decisively overshadowed by that of science in framing the project of empire.

    3 See, for example, Brennan (1991); Pearson (1993b); Rowse (1993a); Dodson (1994); Reynolds (1996).

    4 See in particular, Jane Jacobs' Edge of empire (1995) and more recent work with Ken Gelder Uncanny Australia (1998).

    5 For this reason, and despite several references to Deleuze and Guattari's ‘A thousand plateaus’, it seems to me that Carter's spatial history bears rather more superficial resemblance to their ‘rhizomatics’ than some have claimed (see Rodman, 1993).

    6 The British House of Commons Select Committee was established in 1834 following a motion by Mr Thomas Fowell Buxton, the political heir to the slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce and co-founder of the British and Foreign Aborigines Protection Society in the same year, who chaired its proceedings. The Committee reported in 1837 and, while Australia is not its primary focus, the hasty parliamentary passage of the ‘South Australia Colonization Bill’ in the summer of 1834 provided a fresh stimulus to their condemnation of colonial ‘settlement’ practices (Minutes of Parliament (GB), 1834). Among those called to give evidence to the Committee was a preponderance of clergymen, many of whom held out ‘Christian instruction’ as the only realistic recompense for the ill-treatment of Aboriginal peoples in the colonies.

    7 Property preoccupied debates in liberal philosophy and political economy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Liberal currents took their lead from Locke, for whom private property is the cornerstone of civic governance and the liberty of the individual. Critics, from Marx and Engels to Henry George, cast it as the bastion of capitalism and/or class privilege. For useful overviews of these variegated debates, see Honoré (1961); Macpherson (1978); and Ryan (1984).

    8 The familiar face of these heroic accounts of private property is the figure C.B. Macpherson identified as the ‘possessive individual’ (1962). Here, rights to occupy, use, alienate and benefit from land are bundled together and vested in a single person/proprietor as freehold or fee simple title (see also Vogel, 1988). But as several early modern historians and political philosophers have noted, this modern figure is not one that would have been recognized by those, like Locke and others writing in the natural law tradition, in whose texts it is now routinely originated (see, for example, Squadrito, 1979; Tully, 1993: chapter 2; Macfarlane, 1998).

    9 This understanding of English Common Law was itself considerably more formalized than in earlier configurations of governance. The seventeenth-century jurist Sir John Davies, for example, observed in 1674 that

    The common law of England is nothing else but the Common Custom of the Realm. … It can be recorded and registered no-where but in the memory of the people. For a Custom taketh beginning and groweth to perfection … when a reasonable act once done is found to be good and beneficial to the people, and agreeable to their nature and disposition, then do they use it and practise it again and again, and so by often reiteration time out of mind, it obtaineth the force of a Law. (cited in Reynolds, 1996: 75)

    10 Common law occupancy was key to the dispossession of customary or common land use in Britain (and Ireland), which had contributed a major component of the diet and fuel of the labouring poor (Goodrich, 1991). It was progressively removed by parliamentary statute – with some 100 Enclosure Acts between 1800 and 1834 (Neeson, 1993). Those dispossessed by these acts and/or who actively opposed them made up a considerable part of those transported as convicts and emigrants to Australia (Thompson, 1991).

    11 While Blackstone's Commentaries on the laws of England met with a variable reception at home, they attained a substantial reputation in the colonies. Eight editions were published in his lifetime (1723–80) and another 15 by 1854 (Jones, 1972).

    12 While the Mabo judgment's admission of ‘native title’ into common law broke new legal ground by establishing land rights without the jurisdiction of Parliament, it had been preceded by several piecemeal legislative provisions, notably under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (Northern Territories) 1976 and in association with National Park designations. However, even where native title recognized at common law approaches ‘full ownership’ in the terms set out by the Mabo ruling, it remains subject to important limitations (see Bartlett, 1993: 42):

    • it cannot be alienated (or sold) other than by surrender to the Crown;
    • beneficial title is communal and held in trust while personal titles, whether of individual, family or band, are transferable by custom;
    • it does not constitute permissive occupancy and can be legally and validly extinguished by the Crown under strict conditions.

    13 In this, the majority judgment accords with Kant's objection to natural law theorists like Locke or, later, utilitarian theorists like Bentham. He argued that while cultivation can confirm title, in that it signals to others that a piece of land has already been taken in rightful possession, this fact may be conveyed ‘by many other signs that cost less trouble’ (Kant, 1887: 97, cited in Vogel, 1988).

    14 Indeed the majority judges' insistence that their ruling on the common law status of native title applied to the whole of Australia was based on a recognition that the circumstances of the Meriam case, characterized by the cultivation of garden plots passed through family lines between generations, did not set it apart in legal terms from those on mainland characterized by more seasonal patterns of land use and more collective proprietorial practices (see Rowse (1993b) for a discussion of the implications of the Mabo ruling for interpreting indigenous ‘traditions’).

    15 Western Australia, Northern Territories and Queensland, the States with the largest proportion of their land under pastoral and mining leases and the highest proportion of indigenous Australians within them, were the most vigorous in their opposition to the Native Title Bill. They framed their opposition in terms of resisting efforts by the Commonwealth Government in Canberra to infringe their established regional jurisdiction over land management.

    16 Two currents in these political wheeling and dealings are of particular note. In contrast to the sustained opposition of the corporate mining lobby, the Labour Government won the support of the National Farmers' Federation for their Native Title legislation, against the grain of many of their regional constituencies and their traditional allegiance to the National Party. As the Government was building these alliances, Opposition politicians led by the Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court, were engaging in political manoeuvres to undermine the Commonwealth legislative process by passing State legislation that extinguished common law native title and replaced it with an impoverished form of statutory provision.

    17 There are occasional Opposition voices, notably that of Dr Wooldridge, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, whose speeches (Hansard (HoR), 24/11/93: 3599–603) are clearly sympathetic to native title and regretful of the lack of a bi-partisan approach to the legislation. But even these speakers follow their party whip to vote against the Bill.

    18 Pauline Hanson lost her parliamentary seat in the 1998 elections and, at the time of writing, her One Nation party was being investigated by the Australian Police for fraud.

    19 There are currently some 145,000 pastoralists, in comparison with 260,000 indigenous Australians, a number that has been in decline since the end of the First World War and is now falling at an accelerated rate. While a minority of pastoralists are among the wealthiest landholders in the country, corporate business forms are much less widespread in the pastoral industry than in the mining industry and the majority of them make moderate and uncertain livings (see Lawrence, 1990).

    20 The Commonwealth Constitution makes only two passing references to Aboriginal people. One excludes them from the law-making powers of the Commonwealth (section 51 subsection xxvi) and the other excludes them from the census enumeration of the Commonwealth and the States (section 127), both of which were conceived in terms of governing Australia's immigrant population. For a discussion of the political context of the 1967 referendum see Attwood and Markus (1999).

    21 In establishing their credentials for talking about/for Aboriginal people, MPs referred variously to the size of the Aboriginal population in their constituency; recollections of visits and interactions with Aboriginal communities; and, somewhat bizarrely, their appreciation of ‘Aboriginal culture’. Tim Fischer (Leader of the National Party), for example, countered charges of racism against a party conference address he made by referring to ‘my praise of Aboriginal culture as manifested through their rock art, crafts, music, dance and their tribal customs and practices’ (Hansard (HoR), 23/11/93: 3425).

    22 In addition to establishing a quasi-judicial regime for dealing with native title claims, past and future, the Native Title Act 1993 also set up a national fund for the acquisition of land by indigenous Australians who did not benefit directly from native title and foreshadowed a wider-ranging ‘social justice package’ (Peterson and Sanders, 1998: 21). These procedures and bureaucracies built on those already established under the 1967 Land Acts.

    23 Senator Panzinni described himself as a ‘first generation Australian’ and noted that his own grandchildren would likely inherit only a ‘fraction of his Italian blood’. The same notion of race as a biologically derived category was used by Michael Cobb MP (NSW, National Party) to question the credentials of Eddie Mabo as a plaintiff for the Meriam people whose case made history in the High Court, on the grounds that he was ‘only’ the adoptive son of a community family.

    24 The association between moral order and settled social forms goes back to ancient Greece (see Greenblatt, 1991: 68–70). Its reconfiguration through the assemblage of private property was woven through a discourse of ‘improvement’ in which both the person and the land were honed through the discipline of labour. For Locke, for example, the justification of private property could not be exceeded by the size of a person's landholding except by ‘the perishing of anything uselessly in it’ (1988 (1690), para. 46: 300). In similar vein, J.S. Mill declared two centuries later that

    Whenever, in any country, the proprietor, generally speaking, ceases to be the improver, political economy has nothing to say in defence of private property. … In no sound theory of private property was it ever contemplated that the proprietor of land should be merely a sinecurist quartered on it. (1961/1870:231)

    25 The Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Richard Alston (Victoria, Liberal Party), for example, declared the High Court ruling ‘the greatest obiter dicta in history’ (Hansard (Senate), 16/12/93: 5024). More explicitly, the Pastoralists and Graziers' Association of Western Australia, in their evidence to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Native Title Bill, argued that it was ‘conferring a title proved for a settled agrarian and fishing community on a nomadic people of a completely different race and lifestyle’ (quoted by Senator Chris Evans (Senate Leader of the Labour Party), Hansard (Senate) 14/12/93: 4583).

    26 Reynolds (see particularly, 1988, 1992) interprets the Committee's conclusions, and the subsequent efforts by colonial administrators to govern the acquisition of land and treatment of Aboriginal peoples by settlers in Australia from Britain, as evidence of an overriding concern with protecting native rights and welfare. While this was unquestionably a priority in their considerations, the frequent contradiction between these efforts, the terms of the statutory Acts establishing colonies and what was happening on the ground, suggests that any such concerns were compromised in practice by commercial and fiscal considerations. Moreover the Christian morality which pervades the report, as noted above, was also a mainstay of the civilizing pretensions of colonialism.

    27 Opposition leaders in the Commonwealth and some State Parliaments (notably those in Western Australia and Northern Territories) launched a concerted media campaign against Native Title, insinuating their territorial anxieties into the ‘suburban backyard’. For example, John Howard, in his infamous ‘One Australia’ speech (17/11/93), warned that ‘other Australians want to be sure that they do indeed own their own home or farm and that they won't have to go to court to defend them’ (cited by Hon. Gary Johns (Queensland, Labour Party) (Hansard (HoR), 24/11/93: 3596). Similar scare tactics were mobilized in campaigns run by the corporate mining lobby, the Australian Mining Industry Council, and its spokespeople like Hugh Morgan (1992). Here cartographic propaganda, exaggerating the extent of Native Title on maps like that in figure 4.3, was a favourite weapon (see Gelder and Jacobs, 1998: 139–41).

    28 These ‘amendments’ to native title have attracted an ‘early warning’ decision from the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the first ever issued to a developed nation (Mercer, 1997).

    1 The Convention on Biological Diversity has a much larger remit than domesticated plants and animals and takes its impetus from the conservation and utilization of all living resources (see Takacs, 1996), relegating the question of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for agriculture to chapter 14 (CBD, 1992).

    2 RiceTec Inc. of Texas applied to register Basmati as a company trademark in 1998. It later withdrew this blanket patent application in the face of concerted opposition from the Governments of India and Pakistan and other agri-technology companies in the USA. The decision of the US Patent and Trademark Office in August 2001 permitted the patent registration of three specific hybrid varieties – Texmati, Jasmati and Kasmati – developed by the company over a ten year period of cross-breeding with American long grain rice varieties. The decision was greeted by both the company and its opponents as a ‘victory’ (The Guardian, 23/08/01).

    3 Following the request of Conference resolution (9/83), the Commission for Plant Genetic Resources (CPGR) was formally established within the terms of Article VI paragraph I of the FAO constitution by a resolution of the FAO Council (1/85) at its meeting of 24 November 1983.

    4 The Group of 77 was an influential alignment of lately independent nations pursuing a New International Economic Order against the hegemony of industrialized countries, particularly the USA in the 1970s and early 1980s (Larschan and Brennan, 1983; Fowler and Mooney, 1990: 187–200). In 1975 it comprised 103 out of a total 138 member states of the United Nations. Its influence has dissipated since the late 1980s, replaced by the Cairns group alliance associated with World Trade Organization/GATT negotiations, and the strengthening of regional trading blocs like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area), the European Union and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).

    5 While the United States delegation was the most vociferous opponent of the International Undertaking, other industrialized countries, including the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, shared some of its objections. By 1993 the USA, Canada and Japan remain notable for their absence from the list of adherents to the Undertaking.

    6 The Deleuzian terminology of the ‘event’ (see Deleuze, 1990/1969) that affects this analytical modality of immanence can be found elsewhere in bio-philosophy, for example, Whitehead's notion of ‘concresences’ (1929), and de Landa's notion of ‘temporary coagulations’ (1997: 104) which is directly derivative of Deleuze.

    7 These documentary archives are made up of written records from three main procedural bodies conducting the business of the FAO in relation to PGR. First, the official reports of the bi-annual Conference of the FAO, at which delegates from all member countries debate and vote on the business of the meeting. These reports minute the items of business, wording of resolutions and voting procedures and are identified by the documentary prefix – C (year/rep). Secondly, the verbatim records of Conference debates that are conducted through two Commissions charged with reporting back to the plenary sessions for voting. These records are identified by the documentary prefix – C (year/commission no./PV [proceedings verbatim]). And thirdly, the reports of the biannual meetings of the CPGR itself which record the agenda, discussion papers and minutes in which representatives of any FAO member country can participate. These are identified by the documentary prefix – CPGR (year/rep). Occasional reference is made to documentary reports and verbatim records of meetings of the FAO Council that is made up of about 50 representatives elected by member countries and meets two or three times between Conferences. These are identified by the documentary prefix – CL (year/rep).

    8 These slippery distinctions are elaborated for discussion as an agenda item at the 2nd session of the CPGR. Wild relatives are identified as ‘the products of nature’; weedy relatives as the ‘botanical bridge between wild relatives and modern plant varieties’; primitive cultivars as ‘plants that have evolved as a result of both natural and human selection’; and ‘modern varieties’ as being ‘the result of plant breeding’ (CPGR, 1987a: 2).

    9 It is worth noting that Weismann's theory of ‘germplasm’ (1892), which held that the development of hereditary traits was a function of the reproductive or germ-cells sequestered from the rest of the body (and its living environment), derived from his experimental work with insect embryos and roundworms. As developmental biologists like Bonner (1974) pointed out some time ago, this ‘principle’ does not hold good for plants (the cells of which are totipotent). More recently, the cloning of Dolly the sheep using cells obtained from the udder of an adult sheep, further undermined this principle in relation to mammals (Wilmut et al., 1997). For a useful discussion, see Webster and Goodwin (1996).

    10 For example, in the archaeology of domestication (Clutton-Brock, 1989), histories of colonial exploration (Grove, 1995) and botanical science (Drayton, 2000), and, more recently, the accounts of ethnobotany (Balick and Cox, 1996).

    11 As Harlan (1971) points out, the Vavilovian cartography of centres of agricultural origin and diversity that has become such a landmark almost invariably incorporates significant amendments made by his collaborator Zhukovsky, as in the case of the FAO version reproduced here. His expansion of the number and extent of these centres, some defining a whole continent, exhausted the meaningfulness of the ‘centres’ concept.

    12 According to an FAO survey of these ex-situ germplasm collections in 1994, just over half of all accessions were held in genebanks in industrialized countries, about one-third in developing countries and the remainder in the international network of IARCs administered by CGIAR (Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) (CPGR, 1994b). CGIAR was established in 1971 with funding from the Rockerfeller and Ford Foundations, the FAO, the World Bank and the UN Development Programme (CPGR, 1987a: 10–15).

    13 The global commons are taken to describe those environmental phenomena and spaces that do not fall under national jurisdiction or private property rights, notably oceans, Antarctica, the earth's biosphere and outer space, all of which are the subject of more less established international treaties or protocols (Buck, 1998). They are constituted in international law as a ‘common heritage of [hu]mankind (CHM), a legal concept first established in the UN Law of the Sea in 1967 (Kotz, 1976) that has four main principles (see Larschan and Brennan, 1983). The designated commons should:

    • not be subject to appropriation;
    • involve all nations in its management;
    • actively share in any benefits;
    • be dedicated to exclusively peaceful purposes.

    14 The ‘tragic’ rendition of the commons can be traced to the eighteenth/nineteenth century enclosure of the English commons when ‘improvement’ and the ‘national interest’ cast local commons as a hindrance to commercial and state interests (Xenos, 1989). First articulated by propagandists for parliamentary enclosure, like Thomas Malthus (Thompson, 1991: 107), the ‘tragedy of the commons’ has been deployed more recently in the project of ‘third world development’ (Roberts and Emel, 1992). The most influential exponent of this twentieth-century variant is Garrett Hardin, for whom ‘freedom in a commons brings ruin to all’ (1968: 124).

    15 The ‘virtuous’ currency of the commons can be traced back to the natural law tradition of seventeenth-century political debate, where the ‘state of nature’ signified a gift from God invested in ‘man’ as an earthly commonwealth (see Squadrito, 1979; Shapiro I., 1991). The dilemma for the theological cast of this early modern political commentary centred on reconciling the nascent figure of the autonomous individual with the moral economy of commonwealth (see, for example, Chalk, 1991). The most influential exposition of this fraught reconciliation is found in the work of John Locke, particularly his Two treatises on government (1988/1690), which is still a touchstone of liberal democratic political theory (see Tully, 1980).

    16 The ‘Agreed Interpretation’ (Resolution C 4/89) was formally incorporated as an annex (annex I) to the International Undertaking (Resolution C8/83), securing it as an integral part of its legal provisions.

    17 The shift in definitional emphasis from the ‘vegetative and propogating’ materials of plants to the ‘biological diversity of plant genes, etc.’ was significant but largely unnoticed in the collective ontology of PGR.

    18 The report found that the legal status of materials held in ex situ collections is determined primarily on the principles of law and the legislation of the state where the collection is located and, hence, was inevitably varied. The situation for the CGIAR-administered network of International collections was even more complicated with, for example, IARCs exhibiting a wide range of constitutional arrangements. These findings were based on information restricted to those public genebanks that responded to FAO enquiries and excluded private collections (CPGR, 1987a).

    19 The grand design of an ‘international genebank’ envisaged by the FAO's Committee on Agriculture (COAG) as part of an International Convention for PGR back in 1983, complete with floor plans and budget estimates (FAO, 1983c), bore little relation to the arrangements secured by the Undertaking some ten years later. The only significant gesture towards this global jurisdiction was the transfer of the administration of the IARC network of genebanks from CGIAR to the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in 1994; itself an FAO satellite organization set up in 1974 (see Kloppenburg, 1988: 161–7).

    20 Unsurprisingly the research literature is no less confused than the FAO Conference records on the applicability of the ‘common heritage of humankind’ principle to the International Undertaking (e.g. Juma, 1989; Ramakrishna, 1992; Flitner, 1998).

    21 This distinction between physical (or tangible) and intangible property in western jurisprudence is indebted to that made in Roman law between corporeal and incorporeal things (Drahos, 1996).

    22 The criteria of ‘invention’ exercised in patent law, for example, require that the knowledge-object is useful (i.e. it must have an industrial or commercial application); novel (i.e. it must be original and not already known in the public domain); and non-obvious (i.e. it must be more inventive than ‘mere discovery’ of something that already exists) (Cornish, 1999). The US Supreme Court ruling in Diamond v. Chakrabarty (1980) is now taken as the landmark decision effecting the ontological shift that admitted microbiological knowledge practices and knowledge-objects as patentable ‘inventions’.

    23 At the time of the International Undertaking on PGR no developing countries had implemented legislation along UPOV lines and none was a member of the Union. This remained the case until Latin American countries party to establishing the North American Free Trade Area were obliged to join UPOV as a condition of NAFTA membership. Under the original terms of the UPOV Convention, farmers re-using seeds from their own harvest and plant breeders' using protected varieties to produce further improvements were exempt from the prohibition on third-party use of protected varieties. These exemptions were revoked in the 1991 revisions to bring UPOV into line with Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provisions being constituted by the World Trade Organization (see Correa, 1995) (see note 24 below).

    24 This shift was extended to plant varieties by the European Patent Office in 1983 in its reinterpretation of Article 53 of the European Patent Convention (1973) which had specifically excluded ‘plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals’ from the scope of permissable patent claims. In a ruling on a case brought to the appeal board by Ciba-Geigy, varieties produced by genetic engineering were deemed to be ‘novel plants’ rather than ‘new varieties’ and hence patentable. This principle has since been incorporated into revisions to the UPOV Convention (1991). For overviews of these developments in IPR in relation to living things contemporaneous with the event under discussion see Sedjo, 1992 (for a US perspective) and Bergmans, 1991 (for a European perspective).

    25 Under the Farmers' rights provisions of the Undertaking, entitlements to compensation were vested in the FAO as a ‘trustee of the international community’ to fund community seedbanks and traditional land management and conservation practices. In practice, its trusteeship suffered from under-funding, as financial contributions to the International Fund failed to materialize, and was contested by some member countries who wanted it to be vested in nation states (e.g. Turkey; see FAO, 1989b). It is also worth reiterating that the purchase of Farmers' rights as ‘rights’ was compromised by the non-binding or ‘soft-law’ status of the Undertaking (Correa, 1995).

    26 The itch of the primitive that consigned indigenous peoples to ‘the state of nature’, expelling them from the compass of the social in imperial mappings of terra nullius, persists today in their incorporation into the genomic mappings of the life sciences as subjects of bio-prospecting (Cunningham, 1998). The extension of IPR to the patenting of such genomic ‘inventions’ is itself intensely contested within scientific and legal communities (see Gannon et al., 1995; Black, 1998)

    27 Lipietz describes the Rio Summit as ‘a diplomatic Vietnam’ for the Bush (senior) administration (1995: 9). The Clinton administration signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in summer 1993, but Congress refused to ratify it in summer 1994. It remains unsigned by the USA.

    Section 3: Introduction

    1 A similar point is made by Derrida in a conversation with J.L. Nancy where he explains his rare treatment of ‘the subject’ as a product of the fact that ‘the discourse of the subject, even if it locates difference … continues to link subjectivity with man’ (1991: 105). Moreover, Appadurai himself makes the limits of his project in The social life of things (1986) clear in an interview in which he describes it as an effort ‘to milk the conceit that we need to forget people for a moment and think of things themselves, as in some kind of way having a life’ (Bell, 2000: 27, original emphasis).

    1 This is not to suggest that food-born toxicities and diseases are peculiar to the industrial era. Adulterated and rotten foodstuffs were historically commonplace, and industrial preservation and transport technologies have extended their compass and durability (see Kiple and Ornelas, 2000).

    2 It is worth noting how frequently scientific authorities evoke the term ‘rogue’ to explain food scares to the wider public through the media. For example, in the case of BSE-vCJD, the prions implicated in transmissable spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) were characterized as ‘rogue proteins’, and in the food poisoning outbreak in Lanarkshire in 1997, the bacterial strain E. coli 0157 was identified as the ‘rogue bacteria’ responsible. It seems that such potent agents only emerge into the glare of public acclaim at moments of rupture in the disciplinary practices and accounts of science.

    3 Michel Serres makes much of the hyphen's replacement of the inverted capitalized omega as the conventional sign of union or connection between two words. He argues that it imprints diacritically the meaning of the ‘middle ground’ or ‘excluded third’, thus acting as a shorthand for his various metaphorical figures of absent presence – the parasite; the tiers instruit; the blank figure of the joker (see Assad, 1999: 132–4). Deleuze takes a similar tack when he insists on the significance of the conjunction ‘and’ in his mode of thinking, which he argues ‘has enough force to shake and uproot the verb “to be”’ emphasizing between-ness as ‘another way of travelling, … coming and going rather than starting and finishing’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1988: 25).

    4 Exceptions which stretch across economic/cultural, production/consumption divides are growing in number in response to the practical imperatives of addressing the crises in farm livelihoods and consumer confidence engendered by industrialization. See, for example, Whatmore and Thorne (1997) on Fairtrade networks; Cook and Crang (1998a, 1998b) on consumer understandings of the origins of foods; Fitzsimmons and Goodman (1998) on alternative food networks; and Murdoch et al. (2000) on the construction of ‘quality’ foods.

    5 Exceptions to this exclusive focus on the meaningfulness of foods in (human) cultural practices include ‘popular’ bio-graphies of staple foodstuffs and their active role in human history, e.g. Zuckerman (1998) on the potato; and Hobhouse (1999) on tea and sugar.

    6 An exception to this is Adams's gestures towards a ‘feminist-vegetarian agenda’ (1990).

    7 As Deleuze and Guattari note (1988: 519, footnote 13), this contrast between arborescent and rhizomatic forms of thinking is also taken up by Michel Serres (1975) to rather different effect in his examination of the networking assemblage of the tree itself and its use in a variety of scientific domains.

    8 The Soya Bean Information Centre (whose publicity does not acknowledge that it is funded by Monsanto) claims in an information sheet that ‘experts estimate that up to 30,000 food products contain soya derivatives as ingredients’ (Monsanto, 1996). As well as a host of human and non-human foodstuffs, Hapgood illustrates the soybean's versatility in his National Geographic article (1987) with a painting by the artist James Gurney which includes more than 60 soy products – from glues and petrol, fire hydrant foam and plastic, to the paint used in the painting itself.

    9 For parallels with Merleau-Ponty's visible/invisible and his concerns with the presentation of absence, see Carey (2000: 31–2).

    10 The Monsanto Corporation is not unfamiliar with controversy in relation to its products. These include the defoliant Agent Orange, used extensively in the Vietnam War, and the bovine growth hormone rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) designed to boost milk yields and banned by the European Union (Palast, 1999).

    11 The high protein and fatty acid components of soya make it a valuable component of vegetarian alternatives to meat and dairy products in today's industrial diet. However, health claims made for these products have been called into question by scientists breaking ranks with the US Food and Drug Administration's position. They point to the toxicity of the oestrogen-like properties of isoflavones in the bio-chemistry of soya (Fallon and Enig, 2000; Institute of Food Research, 2000).

    12 The modern soybean taxon Glycine max is located as a sub-species of the tribe (Phaseolae) within the largest of the three Leguminosae sub-families (Papilionoideae) (ILDIS, 2000).

    13 North-east China was recognized by the early twentieth-century Soviet botanist Vavilov as one of the eight ‘centres of origin’ for the world's most important crop plants, which have since become closely allied to the identification of ‘centres of plant genetic diversity’ (see chapter 5).

    14 These nitrogen-fixing root nodules are general in two of the three sub-families of Leguminosae (Mimosoideae and Papilionoideae) but rare in the third (Caesalpinioideae) (ILDIS, 2000).

    15 To this extent the soybean, and leguminous plants more generally, are excellent illustrations of new arguments in evolutionary theory which cast the genealogical emphasis of Darwinian ideas in a much more relational light, either in terms of the ‘co-evolution’ of different species (see Eldridge, 1995) or, more radically, of evolutionary symbiosis at the cellular level (see Margulis and Fester, 1991).

    16 The soybean's earlier presence in Europe was recorded in 1737 by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus in an inventory of plants growing in a garden in Holland (see Hapgood, 1987: 79). Another US Naval officer, Matthew Perry, is credited with its introduction to the west in 1825 (Kiple and Ornelas, 2000: 1855).

    17 Until the advent of GM varieties, nearly all of today's US soybean crop can be traced as descendants of just six plants from this period of concerted acquisition (Fowler and Mooney, 1990: 84).

    18 Kloppenberg gives the example of seed-corn firms employing some 125,000 labourers over a 2–4 week period to de-tassle their breeding crop (1988: 112).

    19 Unlike animals, the cellular potential of plants is highly plastic with a large numbers of cells that are totipotent, that is that have the potential to generate an entire plant with all its various tissues (Tudge, 1993: 186–7).

    20 The United States, China, Brazil and Argentina account for over 90 per cent of the global soybean crop today.

    21 Glyphosate is the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup® herbicide, typically comprising 41 per cent. Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine) is a post-emergence broad spectrum herbicide that kills all green plants not engineered to tolerate it. It works by inhibiting aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in the leaf chloroplasts, specifically the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimicacid 3-phosphate (EPSP) synthase, thereby disabling the conversion of light into chemical energy and so preventing plant growth (Schulz et al., 1990: 7–8). The other 59 per cent of Roundup® is made up of a range of ‘inert’ ingredients, including Polyethyloxylated tallow amine surfactant (POEA) to de-clog applicators and facilitate even spray coverage, which harbour toxicities of their own (Lappé and Bailey, 1999: 54). Monsanto's monopoly on commercial glyphosate herbicide through its Roundup® brand patent ran out in 2000. The corporation is already involved in legal suits in the United States to prevent its Swiss competitor AstraZeneca from testing their rival glyphosate herbicide brand Touchdown® on its Roundup Ready™ soybeans (Daily Telegraph, 22/1/99).

    22 It is worth noting that Comai's research team was employed by Calgene Inc., one of the US pioneers in biotechnology (acquired by Monsanto in 1997). The prevalence of corporate scientists among the authors of research articles in key journals like Bio/Technology, Trends in Biotechnology, Science and Nature is remarkable (at least to this outsider), but is rarely the subject of reflection, let alone concern, within these pages. This commercialization of biotechnological science has effectively obscured the distinction between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ research and compromised the self-proclaimed ‘objectivity’ of scientists as their practices and results ‘disappear’ behind the cordon of commercial confidentiality (Rothman et al., 1996).

    23 In addition to Roundup Ready™ soybeans, Monsanto have also patented GM tobacco, cotton, sugar beet, corn (maize), and canola (oilseed rape) seed. Ironically, Agracetus Inc. was awarded a patent granting rights to all forms of genetically engineered soybeans by the European Patent Office in March 1994, a patent that has been hotly challenged by Monsanto among other agri-biotechnology corporations (Stone, 1995).

    24 Monsanto is actively (and successfully) prosecuting farmers, mainly in the US mid-west and Canadian prairies, whom it suspects of acquiring its herbicide or GMHT seed outside the terms of this contract. Pinkertons private investigation agency has been employed to secure evidence on its behalf (Washington Post,3/2/99 and 2/5/99; Independent on Sunday, 14/3/99). The logical trajectory of this monopoly impulse is harboured in the infamous ‘terminator technology’ owned by Monsanto which could be used to ‘switch off’ the germinal properties of Roundup Ready® seeds and effectively sterilize them to prevent ‘unauthorized’ use.

    25 The anti-GM scientist Mae-Wan Ho (1999: 61) summarizes the theories of biological complexity which counter the reductivist logic of genetic determinism, and their practical consequence for genetic engineering, in terms of three counter-propositions. A gene does not determine a function, rather genes perform in a complex network in which their relationship to characteristics is non-linear and multidimensional. Genes and genomes are not stable and unchanging, rather they are dynamic and fluid, generating ‘adaptive’ mutations in particular environmental contexts. Genes do not stay where they are put, rather they ‘move’ within and between species, recombining in unintended ways. These propositions are now finding their way from the critical ‘fringes’ of the scientific community to the emerging orthodoxies of post-genomic research (see Sarkar, 1998).

    26 Like other organophosphate pesticides, glyphosate's rate of environmental decomposition varies dramatically from the experimental in vitro conditions of the laboratory and the field test site, to the variable in vivo conditions of particular soils, hydrological environments and farming practices. Moreover, they have proved to be toxic to the nervous and immune systems of mammals (Raganarsdottir, 2000). Monsanto's successful applications in the USA, UK and Australia to triple the permissible level of glyphosate residues in its Roundup Ready™ soybeans from six to 20 parts per million (Nature Biotechnology (1997), 15: 1233) suggests that claimed reductions in volume of application will be tempered by increased intensity of application. The UK's Pesticide Safety Directorate report (1999) on GMHT crops concluded that ‘there is currently a lack of independent research to allow an accurate prediction of the potential impacts’ of GMHT technologies on pesticide use and its environmental consequences (executive summary, point 5).

    27 Prior approval for the commercial or large-scale release of GMOs was first required in 1997. At this time, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) was responsible for licensing experimental planting in the UK, while the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) was responsible for advising on the safety of pesticide products, usage and residues. English Nature, the statutory body responsible for nature conservation in England led the science/policy opposition to the failure of these advisory committees to address wildlife or biodiversity concerns within their remits. This opposition arose, at least in part, in response to Monsanto's efforts to secure a licence for field trials in Roundup Ready™ oil-seed rape (English Nature, 1998).

    28 The main UK precedent for the licensing of a derivative transgenic food product at the time was the treatment of a tomato paste made from the GM Flavrsavr™ variety. This product was licensed by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) in 1997 and labelling was required by the Food Advisory Committee (FAC). It entered the UK marketplace clearly labelled as a GM product and caused little public outcry or consumer backlash as a result. Since then, the patent rights on Flavrsavr™ tomatoes have passed to Monsanto with its takeover of rival biotech company Calgene in 1997.

    29 These advertisements were produced by the London-based agency Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty. They were subsequently condemned by the British Advertising Standards Agency for representing Monsanto's environmental claims about its GMHT products in ‘confusing’, ‘misleading’, ‘unproven’ and ‘wrong’ ways, and expressing the corporation's own opinion of transgenic engineering as an extension of traditional plant breeding methods as ‘accepted fact’, when it is a matter of dispute within the scientific community (Guardian, 1/3/99; Living Earth, 1999, 202: 8).

    30 The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes relied on animal trials of Roundup Ready® soybeans lasting no more than a matter of months to satisfy their ‘test’ requirements for impacts on human health (Derek Burke, Chair of ACNFP, interviewed on BBC television's Panorama programme, 18/5/1999). The adequacy of animal analogues for ‘testing’ the toxicological effects of human foods is an acknowledged problem among OECD government scientists (New Scientist, 1999).

    31 It is noteworthy that a subsequent study by the Advisory Committee on Animal Feeding Stuffs, which reports to the Food Standards Agency, found that ‘DNA fragments large enough to contain potentially functional genes survived processing in many of the samples [of animal feedstuffs] studied’ (Observer, 15/10/2000). Animal feeds are the primary destination of soya meal and UK retailers are currently extending their GM soya ban to their meat supply networks while the Food Standards Agency is pressing for the compulsory labelling of food derivatives from animals raised on GM feed.

    32 It is a marketing strategy that Monsanto had used before with its rBHT (Bovine Growth Hormone), patented under the brand name Posilac®, where it fought against European (and US) efforts to separate rBHT milk and conventional milk and label products derived from hormone-treated milk. The corporation's rationale for its dogged and politically damaging resistance to the segregation and labelling of GMHT soybeans was economic. Labelling would ‘stigmatize’ the product and its derivatives, associating it with ‘risk’ in the public mind and segregation would permit this perception to find expression through market choice.

    33 These included a Mori Poll in 1996 (on behalf of Greenpeace) and a widely leaked report by Stanley Greenberg for Monsanto that showed public opposition to GM crops rising from 38–50 per cent between 1997 and 1998 in the UK, and from 47–57 per cent among AB social classes (Ford, 2000: 77).

    34 Unlike quality assurance systems, ‘product traceability’ is more closely allied to the certification practices of alternative food networks like organics or Fair-trade.

    35 Major fast-food chains and local education authorities responsible for school meals joined food retailers and processors in banning GM ingredients. For a telling exposition of the US industry's position on labelling, see Miller H. (1999).

    36 These include genetic ‘fingerprinting’ techniques that can detect modifications in soya products to a fraction of 1 per cent and the extension of current segregation practices (e.g. for beans of different protein or oil content) to non-GM soya with a minimal price premium (see Buckwell and Brookes, 1999).

    37 It is important not to exaggerate this political gesture in view of the fact that 11 of the 13 members of ACRE were not eligible to renew their committee membership anyway.

    38 One is reminded here of Rachel Carson's careful, passionate science and the way in which her opposition to the programmatic use of the pesticide DDT earned her personal and professional vilification by corporate and government scientists who questioned her scientific credentials as an ‘unmarried woman’ and ‘probable communist’ (Lear, 1997: 428–35).

    1 Notable reworkings of the natural law tradition include those of Aquinas and Grotius, but Locke's work best epitomizes early modern tensions between notions of ‘common good’ and ‘individual good’ (see Tuck, 1979; Tully, 1993).

    2 Contemporary writers in this Kantian tradition have modified their reliance on the impartiality of justice by recognizing that competent moral agents are contracted on unequal terms; a theme pursued most influentially by John Rawls (1971) in his ‘difference principle’, and by Will Kymlicka (1991) in his notion of the ‘pluralist contract’.

    3 Persons in law can be non-individuals, for example states, corporations, unions etc. McHugh has argued that if the concept of the ‘security of the individual’ (central to human rights law) were extended from persons to human beings, this would contribute towards the realization of substantive equality (i.e. in terms of the material prerequisites for participating as equal members of a polity) (1992: 460).

    4 It is no coincidence that the language of early women's struggles for political rights, notably in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, should borrow from those for the abolition of slavery in likening the status of wives to that of slaves (see Ferguson, 1992).

    5 This is not to suggest that these are the only responses (for example, Habermasian critical theory is also notable) but rather that they have been the most influential in the sense of being translated into discourses beyond the academy.

    6 Interestingly, Mouffe points to similar problems to those raised here with what she calls ‘a certain type of extreme postmodern fragmentation of the social’ (1995: 262) – but without identifying any alleged ‘extremists’.

    7 See also Diprose's notion of ‘corporeal schema’ which takes up Merleau-Ponty's idea of the body's directional activity or ‘intentional arc’ (1994: 106) and the special issue of Hypatia on ‘feminism and the body’ (fall, 1991).

    8 See also, Leder (1990a, 1990b) and Levin (1990).

    9 The ethical standing of animals has been a matter of longstanding dispute in moral philosophy, well in advance of contemporary environmentalism. Particularly influential contributions include the Thomist legacy of Thomas Aquinas in the natural law tradition and the utilitarian legacy of Jeremy Bentham in the social contract tradition (see Midgley, 1983). For an excellent fictional rendition of these philosophical arguments see Coetzee's The lives of animals (1999).

    10 A good example is the global network DAWN (Development with Women working for a New Era) which since 1984 has sought to articulate material connectivities between environmental, livelihood and health issues and the centrality of ‘third world’ women in this nexus (Braidotti et al., 1994).

    11 Ansell-Pearson (1997) provides a useful account of Deleuze and Guattari's acknowledged debt to Bergson's philosophical account of creative evolution (1983/1907) and the biologist von Uexküll's contrapuntal conception of biological processes and forms (1992/1934) (see also Ingold, 1995a).

    12 Obviously this is not to suggest that Latour is not passionate about his work. One has only to think of the title and style of his book about the unrealized blueprint for a rapid transport system in Paris – Aramis or the love of technology (1996), or his zealous efforts to ally science and science studies (1999a) against their caricatured enmity in the so-called ‘science wars’. But rather that his work is not passionate in the sense taken in this book from Game and Metcalf's Passionate sociology, namely that he ‘masterfully refuse[s] to place [himself] within the social life [he] studies’ (1996: 5). In so far as he positions himself beyond the academy at all it is by dissociation. For example, his aversion to ‘a conception of left-wing radicalism that has not yet been renewed as forcefully as science has been’ (1997b: xvii); or his repudiation of the misguided terms on which ‘green’ parties and movements have sought to put ‘nature’ on the political agenda (1999c).

    13 Ingold's ‘weaving’/‘making’ variant of the Heideggerian distinction between ‘dwelling’ and ‘building’ purposefully rejects its insistence that human rationality and subjectivity mark an absolute break from the animal world (see also Glendinning, 1998: 73–4).

    14 These transpecies infectivities were not limited to cattle and humans but have been recorded in increasing numbers in companion animals (notably cats) and zoo animals (notably deer), giving rise to the generic term TSEs (transpecies spongiform encephalopathies) (Ridley and Baker, 1998).

    15 The most exhaustive account of the shifting sands of Government policy and scientific advice towards BSE-vCJD in the 1980s-1990s and assessment of the distribution of responsibility for its devastating failings is provided by the voluminous report of the Lord Phillips' enquiry into BSE (see BSE Inquiry, 1999 and associated website).

    16 ‘Couplings’, like ‘cyborgs’, betoken a version of hybridity in which difference is prefigured in the alterity of already constituted kinds. By contrast, the emphasis in my account on the indeterminacy of difference draws on Bergson's bio-philosophy, particularly his notion of differentiation as an explosive ‘internal’ life force (1983/1907), subsequently taken up and reworked by Deleuze (1994/1968) (and with Guattari (1988/1980)). This distinction is important in understanding the contrast between, say, the approaches of Latour and Haraway to hybridity. For valuable discussion on these points, see Ansell-Pearson (1999: 33–69) and Hansen (2000b).

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    Index of Names

    Page numbers referring to the names of authors who have been quoted or discussed are in bold type. Authors who have been only referred to are in normal type.


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