New book chapter: Visions of gene technology


Kjeldaas, S. and Antonsen, T. (2021) Visions of gene technology, in Hanna Schübel and Ivo Wallimann-Helmer (eds.) Justice and food security in a changing climate, EurSafe 2021 – DOI, © Wageningen Academic Publishers 2021

This article presents visions for the future of gene technology as presented by members of the Norwegian public in response to suggestions by the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board to revise the Norwegian Gene Technology Act. Taking as our starting point the performativity and normativity of techno-scientific visions, we investigate ‘what kind of futures’ the different actors in the Norwegian debate imagine the new gene technologies to bring forward, particularly in response to challenges to our food system such as sustainability, environmental degradation and climate change. Our findings reveal how different visions emerge from different understandings of environmental or systemic problems of the present. The use of developmental and environmental techno-scientific ‘salvation’ narratives by proponents of gene technology explains why many agricultural, environmental and scientific organizations refrain from using climate change arguments in their responses, and why they offer less confident visions of the future. We argue that discussions on gene technology’s role in our common future cannot proceed until they include the state of the environmental present and its causes.