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GM plants as sources of im/possibility: a developmental systems view of stabilization

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This paper generates a heuristic understanding of the stabilization dynamic of genetically modified plants. This heuristic, the paper argues, can provide a fruitful platform for studying the political dimensions embedded in GM plants. Focusing on stabilization is important, because outside laboratories a plant can have an intermediating role only as a cultivar; as something which has integrated into biological processes and human practices. The actual stabilizing entity is not just an object, but a dynamic analogous to what is called a developmental system. The empowering or suppressing consequences of GM plants depend significantly on the qualities of this spatio-temporal order stabilizing; on the “possibility space” it opens up. Moreover, stabilization connects and makes things possible, but it does not do so automatically, predictably - or for everyone. Centralized control may support stability, but it may also increase vulnerability by reducing local possibility space.
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Keywords: GM plants; developmental systems; possibility space; stabilization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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