Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The primary goal of this thesis is to examine the relationship between global civil society and global governance using a case study of the global social movement opposed to genetically modified organisms in the European Union and the United States. This thesis argues that social movement actors will be most effective when they focus on a variety of targets including states, international institutions, and corporations. Chapter one of this thesis reviews the current scholarship on global civil society, focussing on the International Relations and social movement literatures. The remainder of this thesis consists of a case study of the global social movement opposed to GMOs and focuses on the EU and US. The case study outlines how the anti-GM movement became a fundamental agent in redefining public perceptions of agricultural biotechnology and pressuring governments and corporate actors to alter their stances towards this new technology. The case study outlines the emergence of the anti-GM movement and the impact of political and cultural factors on its effectiveness. It discusses national regulatory structures governing GMOs in the US and EU as well as the regulatory impact of international institutions, specifically the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the World Trade Organization. The case study also examines the impact the anti-GM movement had on a variety of corporate actors including food processors and retailers and the biotechnology industry itself. The findings of this thesis suggest that while the anti-GM movement has been able to influence government regulators in the EU and to some extent the US, it has also achieved de facto policy change by directly targeting the biotechnology industry. Thus, when a political context is particularly unwelcoming to civil society groups, de facto policy change may still be possible without the primary involvement of states.
Edge, Jessica Lise, "Challenges and Opportunities for Global Civil Society: The Global Social Movement Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms" (2006). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5183.
McMaster University Library