Citation Stephan H (2015) Cultural Politics and the Transatlantic Divide over GMOs. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Abstract What accounts for the transatlantic divide over the regulation of genetically modified organisms? Alongside political institutions and economic dynamics, cultural values and identities have also played a critical role. Stephan contrasts widespread concerns over the 'unnaturalness' of GMOs in Europe with more utilitarian attitudes in the US. In Europe, food and agriculture are closely connected to positive images of 'nature', while Americans have often reserved such admiration for pristine 'wilderness'. By tracing the historical development of 'environmental identities' on both continents the author shows that divergent cultural contexts shape public opinion and the narratives of anti-GMO movements. Many Europeans regard GMOs as a symbol for a host of troubling cultural and socio-economic changes. Despite increasing public opposition, most Americans still see them through the lens of risk-benefit evaluation. Thus, through varying degrees of political pressure and consumer boycotts, cultural factors strongly influence regulatory frameworks on both sides of the Atlantic.