chapter  4
32 Pages

An Alliance Around an Idea: The Shifting Boundaries of HarvestPlus

The last two chapters traced early biofortification pathways that emerged in the 1990s. While they were products of different institutional histories and areas of scientific enquiry, these early initiatives shared certain key characteristics. The first of these could be called the missionary effect: in each case these projects relied on the determination and vision of key individuals and the small, close-knit actor-networks that formed around them. Second, each project was accompanied, in its early stages, by modest expectations of success; these projects were exploratory in nature. In each case, however, as time progressed, the projects underwent gradual metamorphoses from an open, exploratory mode, through successive stages of institutional framing, ‘black-boxing’ and simplification, towards linear approaches that have effectively discouraged scientists from ‘looking sideways’,1 to consider the multiple uncertainties emerging from this new science.