Forum, Futuribles Journal n° 396

Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques

“On Genetically Modified Democracy”: A View of Science in French Ultra-Leftist Circles

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Futuribles has on several occasions provided a sounding board for detailed analyses of certain discourses relating to science and technology and the uses that may, in some cases, be made of them. For example, in issue 380 of Dec. 2011, Antonin Pottier presented an analysis of the arguments of climate-change sceptics and the way these were articulated to enable their begetters to defend interests not directly related to the scientific reality of climate change. Similarly, Pierre-Benoit Joly showed how some large corporations went about making use of regulatory norms and discourses linked to sustainable development in order to legitimate a number of controversial lines of research (no. 383).

In the present article Alexandre Moatti looks at the way certain ultra-Leftist movements speak about science and technical progress. He shows, for example, how these small groupings, taking science as their new enemy (alongside, if not instead of, capitalism), are developing an ideology that is very hostile to science –now seen as a cause of the enslavement of consciousness– leading to a re-reading of History which is, to say the least, questionable. This highly negative view of science and progress is not new. There have always been, and no doubt always will be, movements casting doubt on scientific progress, enabling us –quite rightly– to discuss the basic strengths and limitations of that progress. However, the reception in the media –and among a generally well-disposed public– accorded to various kinds of actions carried out by this tendency prompts us to look more closely at the discourse it is promoting and, necessarily, to maintain a degree of vigilance.

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