Green Biopolitics and the Molecular Reordering of Nature
This paper maps out evolving forms of biopolitics in Australia in the context of environmental problems, specifically with regard to the environmental release of genetically modified organisms, and the challenge of emergent international trends towards citizen participation. Conditioning that challenge in Australia is a powerful biopolitical elite that empowers laboratories and expert 'committees of containment' 'outside nature', to discipline, manage and align society to the redesign of its biophysical environment through genetic engineering and biotechnology. 'Biopolitics' is thus situated here within both cultural and technological meanings and possible socio-political transformations of governance, in which new forms of governance represent variants of 'partnership' natural resource management approaches and mega-technological change situated within discourses of risk, uncertainty and trust, with the latter tempered by the complex and unique conditions of the 'life politics'. Australia's reliance on technocratic forms of governance has placed it far behind the fertile development of new life sciences governance forms in the European Union, and other countries like New Zealand, yet signs are emergent of support amongst science practitioners/communicators of a need to embrace the new political modes that seek mutually supportive stakeholder decision-making. Although long resistance to public participation by the bioelite suggests limited efforts to grasp such transformations, a paradox is suggested by the development of globalspeak, a policy narrative of global integration that Australian interests have long used to gain legitimacy and support for biodevelopment. Australia may thus be caught in the dilemma of the global nature of the 'bioeconomy' and its new biopolitics of community engagement to stay in the race. Such possibilities offer support for situating the notion of 'green' 'biopolitics' on the frontline of theoretical usefulness for democratic advances with regard to industrial development and notions of reflexive modernisation, or ecological democracy, for example.
Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis