War by other means: a genealogy of "improvement" from John Locke to genetically engineered food aid




Pasternak, Shiri

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How can we think of power in the form of a seed? This thesis will trace the discourse of "improvement" from its seventeenth century use by John Locke to justify the appropriation of Aboriginal lands in North America to the inter-locked languages of improvement and development in the twenty-first century in the context of genetically engineered food aid. This paper also explores the nature of sovereignty in a biopolitical age, arguing that the improvement discourse is operationalized on the ground through a diffuse power that trades on claims of improving the bios as whole. The paper concludes with a discussion of the food sovereignty movement as a possible practical and epistemological break for farmers in the Global North and South from the hegemony of this war by other means.



genetically modified foods, government policy, Africa