Pathways of Conflict: Lessons from the Cultivation of MON810 in Germany in 2005–2008 for Emerging Conflicts over New Breeding Techniques

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The paper uses qualitative interviews and document analysis to examine conflicts over plant and animal breeding techniques from the perspectives of Social and Political Ecology. It asks how past conflicts over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can inform understandings of possible trajectories of emerging conflicts over new breeding techniques (NBTs) such as CRISPR/Cas genome editing. Case studies of conflicts in three areas where the transgenic maize MON810 was cultivated in Germany from 2005–2008 show that the escalation of conflict coincided with the first tangible presence of these already controversial organisms in the rural landscape. Location-specific interlinkages between discursive and material dimensions gave rise to dierent pathways of conflict in the three areas studied. These empirical results inform the analysis of emerging conflicts over NBTs in Germany and the United Kingdom. The future of NBTs in both countries is still open, and the divergence of regulatory frameworks in Europe could lead to the development of ‘NBT hotspots’ located in particular European countries, provoking an escalation of conflict in areas where commercial application takes place. The paper concludes by examining the potential for a politicization of future conflicts to encompass wider issues related to the transformation of agricultural systems towards sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number144
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2020

    Research areas

  • Environmental planning - agriculture, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), conflicts, MON810 in Germany, new breeding techniques, Social ecology, society-nature relations, political ecology, precautionary principle, sustainability transformation