Keywords: GMO fields, GMO destruction, Faucheurs volontaires, genetically modified organisms, inclusive governance, protest, public participation, Czech Republic, France, GM crops, risk assessment
Beyond inclusion: effects and limits of institutionalised public participation
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.