chapter  1
30 Pages

Global governance of new technologies

The EU-US conflict over genetically modified crops and foods is a valuable opportunity to study the politics of a new technology. This opportunity exists because the conflict itself reveals practices and relationships that would otherwise remain hidden. Before the late 1990s, the regulation of biotechnology products took place in a relatively narrow world, involving a small number of experts. The backlash against the technology in Europe, however, changed that to a significant extent. It was followed by a commercial boycott and the de facto moratorium and a much wider range of actors engaged with the regulation of biotechnology products. Social scientists can exploit this opportunity. In this chapter we begin the process by developing concepts and arguments that we will use to analyse the case. We draw on a range of different social sciences, including International Relations, Political Science, Policy Studies and Sociology (Science and Technology Studies).