Seminarios del IPP: “Constituting the Global Bioeconomy: constructing global goods in the U.S. and Brazil"

cartel_28_oct_th2.jpgPor Tess Doezema (Technical University of Munich)

Sala María Zambrano 0C9

Organiza: Francisco Herreros (IPP-CSIC)

Abstract: Visions of imminent environmental breakdown and corollary risks to human populations are pervasive in spaces of international diplomacy and cooperation, such as the OECD and the UN. Climate change, food security, and human health are widely treated in expert discourse as global problems that demand global solutions. Out of these assessments of such universally concerning risks has emerged a politics of global transformation that presents certain forms of cross-national cooperation and harmonization as objectively necessary (scientifically authorized) to sustain human life on earth. Such discourses seek to transcend national boundaries and appeal to basic human needs and interests at a global scale. And yet the mobilization of scientifically authorized projects of global transformation inescapably takes place among nations with markedly different political and historical contexts, and international relationships marked by enduring asymmetries of power, wealth, and culpability for the very problems that these global projects set out to solve. Sites at which claims of scientific authority, “universal” human interests, and geopolitical tensions intersect are of particular interest for understanding the contemporary politics of global transformation.

This talk takes up the bioeconomy as a particularly interesting vision of wholescale social and environmental transformation, which is enacted at global, national and local scales. Bioeconomy discourse mobilizes and authorizes the production of particular forms of scientific knowledge, at once describing the world in universalist terms, and pronouncing how life should (must) be urgently transformed for benefit of all of humanity. I examine spaces of governance and bioscientific knowledge production in pursuit of the bioeconomy in the U.S., and Brazil, as well as projects that branch across nations, touching down in particular localities in the name of the construction of global flows of knowledge and capital for a new bioeconomy. Interrogating how the novelty of the bioeconomy is imagined and performed as global across this uneven and unforgiving terrain, I seek to understand what makes the bioeconomy a compelling shared space of imagination and agency, and how that power is leveraged to reorder the world.

Tess Doezema is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Innovation, Society & Public Policy group at the Technical University of Munich. Her work is concerned with the ways democracy is constituted alongside visions of technological progress and environmental crisis, focusing on the imaginaries and practices aimed at constituting a global bioeconomy. Her research has been published in Science, Technology & Human Values and the Journal of Responsible Innovation. Tess was a 2018 visiting fellow in the STS program at the Harvard Kennedy School and a 2015 Research Innovation Fellow in with the USAID Global Development Lab. She holds a PhD in science studies from Arizona State University.

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