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Making a place for alternative technologies: The case of agricultural bio-inputs in Argentina

Goulet F., Hubert M.. 2020. Review of Policy Research, 37 (4) : p. 535-555.

DOI: 10.1111/ropr.12384

This article characterizes the ways in which the actors in charge of designing and implementing public policies intervene to promote the emergence of alternatives to problematic technologies. It is based on a case study conducted in Argentina that focuses on initiatives to promote the development of biological agricultural inputs in the context of increasingly controversial chemical inputs. The study spotlights the political, institutional, and semantic efforts made by policy makers and public administrations to ensure these new inputs find their way into organizations and onto their agendas. Their work consists in attenuating the boundaries between chemical and biological inputs, and reducing opposition by creating categories and organizations that downplay potential dissension and highlight the possible coexistence of technological paradigms. Contrary to what the injunctions of technological substitution suggest, we show that putting alternative technologies on the public agenda depends largely on their inclusion in institutional and regulatory infrastructures originally designed for technologies that are likely to decline. More broadly, it relies on the construction of continuity between the two types of technologies.

Mots-clés : agriculture alternative; biotechnologie; technologie appropriée; argentine; intrant biologique; politique publique

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