chapter  4
37 Pages

The Counter-Expert Challenge: NGO Leadership in the Anti-GM Movement

ByDerrick A. Purdue

A global anti-GM movement, embodying a Green Radical discourse, opposed the global hegemonic project of seed patenting. The leadership of this movement, at least until the mid-1990s, took the form of individual counter-experts setting up and working in Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). This chapter is based on interviews conducted with movement leaders in the UK. It concentrates on the key actors who shaped the critical discourse on biotechnology and patenting in the UK. Even in such large NGOs the presence of individual counter-experts are of great importance for the organization's participation in the anti-GM movement. The chapter concerns an early stage of the anti-GM movement, in which a small counter-expert leadership was coalescing into a public interest lobby, commonly called the NGO Community in the UK, and developing the arguments that would later feed a wider movement. Key leadership resources, of particular relevance to counter-experts, are the discursive frames that define group identities and purposes.