Title: Beyond inclusion: effects and limits of institutionalised public participation

Authors: Tereza Stockelova

Addresses: Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Jilska 1, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic

Abstract: European institutions as well as member states have been recently promoting participatory procedures that are proclaimed to contribute to the legitimacy of political regimes and decision-making processes. Discussing three cases in the controversy over GMOs in the Czech Republic and France, this paper analyses participatory procedures as a power technique, and argues that they have a tendency to strengthen existing power and epistemic relationships. The paper goes on to focus on the initiative of Faucheurs volontaires (voluntary reapers) in France, a collective mobilised to destroy GMO fields. The paper contends that it is a strong and remarkable form of public participation and discusses its key features: focus on material effect on the world; the dispersed character of action; and the personal legal and bodily engagement of the reapers. On the basis of the three cases, the paper argues that the idea of an all-inclusive governance is treacherous.

Keywords: GMO fields; GMO destruction; Faucheurs volontaires; genetically modified organisms; inclusive governance; protest; public participation; Czech Republic; France; GM crops; risk assessment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2009.024129

International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 2009 Vol.12 No.1, pp.48 - 63

Published online: 26 Mar 2009 *

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