Risk definition and the struggle for legitimation: a case study of Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh, India

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Desmond, Elaine
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Taylor and Francis
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This article explores the struggle for legitimation associated with the attempt to define the risk of Bt cotton, a genetically modified crop, in Andhra Pradesh, India. Beck asserts that, given the uncertainty associated with risk society, efforts to define risk are creating the need for a new political culture. This article argues that this political culture emerges from attempts to legitimate power within risk definition. This is examined using critical discourse analysis on interview excerpts with key figures in the Bt cotton debate. Legitimation is explored using the categories of legitimation developed by Van Leeuwen. These are (a) authorisation; (b) moral evaluation; (c) rationalisation; and (d) mythopoesis. The analysis highlights that the political culture which emerges in response to risk society is in a state of constant flux and contingent upon the ongoing struggle for legitimation with regard to the definition of risk.
Risk , Legitimation , Democracy , Development , India , Genetically modified crops , Critical discourse analysis
Desmond, E. (2015) ‘Risk definition and the struggle for legitimation: a case study of Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh, India’, Journal of Risk Research, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2015.1042504
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Risk Research on 20 May 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13669877.2015.1042504