Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Elena Bastidas


agriculture, biotechnology, food safety, GMO, public policy, Roundup Ready Corn


This is a case study dissertation to research the socio-political conflict surrounding Gilles Eric Séralini’s et al (2012) research on the toxicity of Monsanto’s NK603 line of corn and the herbicide Roundup. The study analyzes this conflict as a system of interconnected and often conflicting interests, assumptions and ideologies about how knowledge is created and transformed from the research stage to the policy implementation stage. The goal of this study is to: 1.) analyze critical surface level and underlying factors that contribute to the conflict; 2.) analyze systemic processes between national and international researchers, private interests and government policymakers in developing and implementing research protocols, policies and regulations pertaining (but not limited) to Monsanto’s NK603 corn and Roundup; 3.) identify potential patterns of knowledge transformation from the research stage to policy implementation. The theoretical approach used in this study considers social construction, critical theory and Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolution. In utilizing case study methodology, this study incorporates internal analysis of Séralini’s case with a basic comparative analysis of DDT and lead policy processes and knowledge transformation, using mainly secondary data sources supplemented with primary interview material from two select researchers using purposive sampling. By conducting this research, it is hoped that this study reveals a better understanding of the complex interconnected systems that help create and transform food safety policies and the science that supports and/or transforms them.

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