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Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate
Chapter 15: New Challenges for Twenty-first Century Environmental Movements: Agricultural Biotechnology and Nanotechnology
15 New challenges for twenty-first-century environmental movements: agricultural biotechnology and nanotechnology Maria Kousis1 Introduction In the past 30 years, the application of new biotechnologies, especially those related to agricultural production and food, have led to sustained concerns and mobilizations by very diverse groups and networks, most of which are linked to environmental movements across the globe. Recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology have now led to new products entering the market that have raised some concerns. Sustainability, therefore, is no longer only a matter of protecting environmental resources, but increasingly involves engineering new environments (Redclift, 2001) that give rise to contested discourses. A new biological frontier of civil society enters the twenty-first century, as the technologies that had been developed to exploit natural resources are increasingly giving way to technologies altering the nature of biotic resources2 and transforming environments (Redclift, 1987: 17 and 2006: 130). New social movements are part of this frontier. According to Charles Tilly (2004: 97–8), social movements in the early twenty-first century are marked by significant changes compared to those in the twentieth. They are more internationally organized, in terms of activists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and visible targets (e.g. multinational corporations and international financial institutions), while they have integrated new technologies into their organizing and claim-making performances. Tilly (2004: 153–7) proposes four ‘scenarios’ for future routes in social movements (SMs) during the remaining part of the twenty-first century, focusing on internationalization, democracy, professionalization and triumph. First, he envisages a slower, less extensive and less complete net...
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