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Genetically modified abominations? Widespread opposition to GMOs might have deep-seated cultural causes.

Journal article
Authors Jakub Kwiecinski
Published in EMBO reports
Volume 10
Issue 11
Pages 1187-90
ISSN 1469-3178
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Pages 1187-90
Language en
Keywords Biotechnology, Crops, Agricultural, genetics, Genetic Techniques, Humans, Organisms, Genetically Modified, Plants, Genetically Modified, Public Opinion, GMO, Genetically Modified Organism,
Subject categories Cultural anthropology, Technology and social change, Plant Biotechnology


Opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a widespread phenomenon, yet its basis is still not entirely clear. While it is usually attributed to irrational fears and political issues, it might have a deep-seated cultural causes. Exploration of the “anti – GMO” discourse reveals multiple similarities between the way genetic modifications are described by their opponents and the way impurity is depicted in ethnological theory of taboo. Those include “dirtiness”, “infectivity” and “trespassing boundaries”. Cultural identification of GMO with “impurity” and “taboo” partly explains the people’s hostility – and is an example of how new scientific achievements are assimilated by traditional cultural schemes.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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