Re-imagining Economic Alterity: A Feminist Critique of the Juridical Expansion of Bioproperty in the Monsanto Decision at the Supreme Court
Simon Fraser University
University of Ottawa Law & Technology Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 227-253, 2005
In May 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision on Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. Higher life forms, such as plants, are not patentable in Canada. However, this decision comforted the agricultural-biotechnology industry by providing protection for the use of patented genes and cells in higher life forms. Here, a farmer was found to have infringed Monsanto's property rights by sowing Monsanto seeds which voluntarily blew onto his farm. I pursue a discourse analysis of the sources of authority for this decision and related caselaw. Following the work of economic geographers Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham, I trace a feminist critique of globalization as a particular set of representations which have performative force: they not only describe globalization, but are also constitutive of it. By interrogating these narratives, I argue that the transnationalization of patent rights in the Monsanto decision is a particular instance where the global juridical order becomes palpable. In the affording of a de facto property interest in a higher organism, we may observe not simply another step in the commodification of farming, but also the lineaments of biopolitical sovereignty.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
JEL Classification: K11, O34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 4, 2006
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