Walking on the Edge: Anxious Border Crossings in Genetic and Social Engineering in New Zealand
The fiercely-debated issues of ‘Genetic modification’ and ‘Immigration’ intersect in the interweaving discourses of science and society in New Zealand. Although seemingly disparate, these two issues have sparked anxieties that revolve around contested perceptions of national, cultural, physical, and genetic boundaries. While much of the debate around genetic modification has been over the challenges to the ‘integrity’ and ‘purity’ of nature and the commodification of knowledge, the immigration debate in the country, as elsewhere in the western world, has, for its part, selectively centred on certain groups of people viewed by the ‘mainstream’ as ‘outsiders’. Through interviews with scientists, policy makers, and a sample of the population, this paper focuses on uncovering the multiple layers of meanings in the discourses around genetic modification and immigration. It also interrogates the ways in which cultural boundaries, such as those between mainstream and peripheral groups—ethnic, gender, and ideological groups, for example—are created, maintained and policed in the context of the modern development project.
Keywords: Science and Society, Genetic Modification, Immigration, Boundaries, Development, Discourse Analysis
Dr. Debashish Munshi
Senior Lecturer, Department of Management Communication, The University of Waikato
Dr. Priya Kurian
Senior Lecturer, Political Science & Public Policy, The University of Waikato