Innogen  ·  Publications  ·  Working papers
The Anti-Politics Gene

Smith, J

January 2004

Innogen working paper no. 31

Open / download (PDF, 356KB)

The paper analyses a tissue culture biotechnology project, which is aiming to promote the adoption of tissue culture bananas by small-scale farmers in Kenya. The analysis draws from post-development theory, analysing the discursive mechanisms used to create the rationale for the project. The paper argues that some of the processes that have been identified in the creation of development sector and the objects it debates hold true for the tissue culture banana innovation system in Kenya. Both development and the innovation system deploy data, statistics and economics to create an apparently apolitical perspective of what is an inherently political process. In part, this explains why development and innovation studies complement and reinforce each other. It also begins to explain why the use of agricultural biotechnologies appears less contested in Kenya that in other African states. Finally, it highlights the need for a more critical reading of how innovation systems are socially constructed in order to ensure policy outcomes are effective and appropriate.

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