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American Ethnologist

Transgenic-free territories in Costa Rica: Networks, place, and the politics of life

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ABSTRACT

Several municipalities across Costa Rica have adopted “transgenic-free territory” ordinances, joining similar communities worldwide in declaring themselves free from genetically engineered organisms such as transgenic seeds. Through ethnography of antitransgenic activism, I describe the rise of transgenic-free territories to examine the relationship between transnational activist networks and place-based struggles. I suggest that activist networks and the transgenic-free territory designation respond to processes of globalization that have reorganized the material and discursive relations between capital and nature, and I show why such territories have gained significance as a defense of sovereignty, place, and even life itself. [transnational activist networks, nature, life, place, environmentalism, Costa Rica]

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