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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 607-614
    Received: Apr 23, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Socializing Nature: Technoscience and the Transformation of Rapeseed into Canola

  1. Lawrence Busch ,
  2. Valerie Gunter,
  3. Theodore Mentele,
  4. Masashi Tachikawa and
  5. Keiko Tanaka
  1. D ep. of Sociology, Michigan Agric. Exp. Stn., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824-1111
    D ep. of Sociology, Univ. of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148



While the constructedness of manufactured products is obvious, plants and animals retain their naturalnes even as they are transformed. Yet, here is little doubt that the transformation of plants is a powerful method by which we socialize nature such that it better suits our purposes. This paper examines the transformation of rapeseed (Brassica campetris L. and B. napus L.) from a minor crop usd largely for marine lubricants into a major global competitor in edible oil markets. This transformation was brought about in part by the elimination of two components defined as potentially toxic, erucic acid and glucosinolates, as well as by changes in the location of production and processing techniques, and by the suitability of the crop for planting and harvesting by equipment designed for wheat. Of particular note is the role of the Canadian State in providing the large-scale financing necessary for the research to transform the commodity from a specialty crop into a bulk commodity.

The research reported here is based in part on work suported by a Canadian Embassy faculty Research Grant, the Michigan Agric. Exp. Stn., and the National Science Foundation (grants SES-9123965 and SBE-9212928). However, any findings, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these agencies.

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