Tag Archives: biotechnology

This is what I do to procrastinate (part 1)….

Work continues on the biotech article, and as is usually the case with research, the more I learn, the more I realize the people and their stories descend into a twisted myriad of connections I can’t possibly hope to capture in systematically-ordered prose.  So instead of writing my article I am thinking about theories of historical change.  Is change dialectical in nature, meaning when an initial state (whether it be abstract, as Hegel suggested, or a particular mode of production, as did Marx) is met with an alternative, their inconsistencies force a new synthesis, a new state of being?  Perhaps, but right now it seems too simplistic and, especially in the case of biotechnology, ignores the role of non-human nature.

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Filed under History, Life in Vietnam, On Agriculture & the Environment, Politicking

Romance and biotechnology

“Yet capitalism is nothing if not vitally expansionist.”

-Jack Kloppenburg, on capital’s pursuit of the commodification of seed, First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology

If you don’t look too closely, if you blur the proverbial edges, it’s easy to settle into the comfortable notion that Vietnamese agriculture is the pastoral ideal: the ‘slow’ life, rice paddies that sway with the breeze, the market vendor whose little bundles of herbage elicit ooohs and aaahs from tourists itching to revel in something ‘quaint.’  I can romanticize it too.  Do you see any farmers in that field of maize, concerned about whether or not their new high-yielding seeds will allow them to hold onto their land for another year?

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Filed under Life in Vietnam, On Agriculture & the Environment, Politicking