ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Esha ShahSubscribe to Esha Shah

The Self and the Political

Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland can be read as a narrative about what life could be in the absence of the ideological movements of the 1960s and the 1970s shaping the personal (and the political). This review aims to read the novel in particular as a comment on the psychology of the hyper-individualistic self emerging in the post-ideological era and its likely implications for democratic politics.

'Science' in the Risk Politics of Bt Brinjal

Drawing on the literature on controversies, especially on the health risk assessment of genetically modified organisms in Europe, and long-standing debates in science and technology studies, this article argues that science-based risk assessment has inherent limitations, however rigorous, independent, and peer reviewed the work may be. In this context, the debate on Bt brinjal needs to broaden its frame from science-based assessment of consequences to evaluate society-oriented causes and objectives. We need to ask questions such as: What kind of society do we wish to live in? What kind of science and technology do we want? Who sets the agenda for science and technology development and who controls the science and technological decisions?

Local and Global Elites Join Hands

While experts and activists question genetically engineered seed technology in the name of farmers' interests and a greater democratic future, farmers themselves are voting with their feet in its favour. The development and diffusion of Bt seed technology by farmers in Gujarat implies that it finds a smooth insertion in the social and agrarian space shaped by the technological culture of the green revolution. In fact, GM technology as a solution to the problems generated by the green revolution technological paradigm sustains and reinforces the hegemony of global and local elites. Though multiple global and local actors have joined hands in developing and diffusing the knowledge on Bt cotton seeds, this multipolarity neither ensures automatic democratisation nor the multiculturalism of technology.

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