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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19265

Title: Getting Behind the Grain: The Politics of Producer Opposition to GM Wheat on the Canadian Prairies
Authors: Eaton, Emily Marie
Advisor: Prudham, W. Scott
Department: Geography
Keywords: agriculture
political economy and ecology
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: On May tenth, 2004 Monsanto announced that it would discontinue breeding and field level research of transgenic Roundup Ready (RR) wheat. This decision was heavily influenced by the widespread rejection of RR wheat by Canadian prairie producers who voiced their opposition through a diverse coalition of rural and urban organizations. With six of the nine member organizations representing rural and farm groups, this research departs from the most common representation of anti-GM movements as being urban and European-centred. This dissertation contrasts the general acceptance of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola just five years earlier (in the mid 90s) with the widespread opposition amongst prairie producers to RR wheat. It uses an updated version of the agrarian question and the production of nature thesis to show how capitalist relations are differentiated across place and commodities. The research finds that producer resistance to RR wheat hinged on the specificities of local histories and institutions, cultural conceptions of worth and economic fair treatment, and the character of wheat as a commodity with particular biophysical properties. The research is also concerned with the ways in which producers articulated their resistance with and through discourses of consumption, while at the same time rejecting the attempts made by proponents of RR wheat to relegate them to consuming subjects, who would best register their dissent by voting with their dollars on the market. For many prairie farm organizations, the fate of the family farm is tied up with the future of wheat farming and the capacity of farmers to collectively market their wheat in international markets. Monsanto’s vision for the future of prairie wheat crossed moral and cultural boundaries for producers and organizations that understood themselves as active subjects.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19265
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geography - Doctoral theses

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