Inderscience Publishers

The StarLink controversy: the competing frames of risk disputes

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

The controversy over the containment of StarLink corn, a genetically modified product, is in many ways similar to risk disputes that have surrounded new technologies in the past. More than technical debates about the extent of risk, they are shaped by conflicting socio-political perspectives about the nature of risks, the ability of regulators to predict and control the effects of new technologies, and the appropriate ways to contain them so as to protect the public interest. In the biotechnology context of global markets, transnational corporations, and free trade regimes, these issues are amplified, and they have assumed new dimensions. This paper examines the containment issues revealed by the StarLink episode in the context of past disputes over new technologies; for these offer insights into the social and political dynamics ofcontroversies today.

Keywords: risk perceptions, risk disputes, biotechnology disputes, genetically modified organisms, StarLink corn

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