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When technology is more than instrumental : how ethical concerns in EU agriculture co-evolve with the development of GM crops

(2017) AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES. 34(3). p.543-557
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Abstract
Being more than mere passive objects used at human will, technologies co-determine the values and structures that shape the EU agricultural system. Technologies (in use) actively shape human interpretation, human action and co-shape our moral standards and routines. It is therefore important to account for the moral significance of agricultural technologies when characterising the structures in place within EU agriculture as well as when trying to understand why a particular agricultural technology is favoured or strongly opposed. From this perspective on technology, an interesting question to pose, is how, within their current use context, genetically modified (GM) crops mediate human interpretation and human practice? This technology is of particular interest, because after more than 30 years, the debate on GM crops is still profound and highly polarised within EU society. Yet, too often, this debate is devalued as being irrational or irrelevant, while we show in this article, based on a technological mediation analysis, how ethical concerns about agricultural practices have co-evolved with the technological development of GM crops. This qualifies public debate on GM crops in the EU as both legitimate and relevant, as, from this perspective on technology, it can be seen as an important way to both characterise and discuss how EU agriculture is and should be organised. Analysing technology in terms of the myriad ways in which it mediates the relationship between humans and their world, further allows us to make some suggestions about how to broaden the ongoing EU discussion beyond the current dichotomous Yes/No framing.
Keywords
Agriculture, technology, values, Technological mediation, Agricultural system, Genetically modified crops (GMOs), Morality and ethics, Confirmative mediation, Disruptive mediation, BIOTECHNOLOGY, FOOD, TRANSITION, MEDIATION, POSTPHENOMENOLOGY, POLITICS, SCIENCE, DESIGN, REGIME

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Inghelbrecht, Linde, Gert Goeminne, Guido Van Huylenbroeck, and Joost Dessein. 2017. “When Technology Is More Than Instrumental : How Ethical Concerns in EU Agriculture Co-evolve with the Development of GM Crops.” Agriculture and Human Values 34 (3): 543–557.
APA
Inghelbrecht, L., Goeminne, G., Van Huylenbroeck, G., & Dessein, J. (2017). When technology is more than instrumental : how ethical concerns in EU agriculture co-evolve with the development of GM crops. AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES, 34(3), 543–557.
Vancouver
1.
Inghelbrecht L, Goeminne G, Van Huylenbroeck G, Dessein J. When technology is more than instrumental : how ethical concerns in EU agriculture co-evolve with the development of GM crops. AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES. 2017;34(3):543–57.
MLA
Inghelbrecht, Linde et al. “When Technology Is More Than Instrumental : How Ethical Concerns in EU Agriculture Co-evolve with the Development of GM Crops.” AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES 34.3 (2017): 543–557. Print.
@article{8161118,
  abstract     = {Being more than mere passive objects used at human will, technologies co-determine the values and structures that shape the EU agricultural system. Technologies (in use) actively shape human interpretation, human action and co-shape our moral standards and routines. It is therefore important to account for the moral significance of agricultural technologies when characterising the structures in place within EU agriculture as well as when trying to understand why a particular agricultural technology is favoured or strongly opposed. From this perspective on technology, an interesting question to pose, is how, within their current use context, genetically modified (GM) crops mediate human interpretation and human practice? This technology is of particular interest, because after more than 30 years, the debate on GM crops is still profound and highly polarised within EU society. Yet, too often, this debate is devalued as being irrational or irrelevant, while we show in this article, based on a technological mediation analysis, how ethical concerns about agricultural practices have co-evolved with the technological development of GM crops. This qualifies public debate on GM crops in the EU as both legitimate and relevant, as, from this perspective on technology, it can be seen as an important way to both characterise and discuss how EU agriculture is and should be organised. Analysing technology in terms of the myriad ways in which it mediates the relationship between humans and their world, further allows us to make some suggestions about how to broaden the ongoing EU discussion beyond the current dichotomous Yes/No framing.},
  author       = {Inghelbrecht, Linde and Goeminne, Gert and Van Huylenbroeck, Guido and Dessein, Joost},
  issn         = {0889-048X},
  journal      = {AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES},
  keywords     = {Agriculture,technology,values,Technological mediation,Agricultural system,Genetically modified crops (GMOs),Morality and ethics,Confirmative mediation,Disruptive mediation,BIOTECHNOLOGY,FOOD,TRANSITION,MEDIATION,POSTPHENOMENOLOGY,POLITICS,SCIENCE,DESIGN,REGIME},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {543--557},
  title        = {When technology is more than instrumental : how ethical concerns in EU agriculture co-evolve with the development of GM crops},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-016-9742-z},
  volume       = {34},
  year         = {2017},
}

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