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Ambiente & Sociedade

Print version ISSN 1414-753XOn-line version ISSN 1809-4422


GUIVANT, Julia S.. GMOs and the public perception of science in Brazil. Ambient. soc. [online]. 2006, vol.9, n.1, pp.81-103. ISSN 1414-753X.

This article has as its main objective the analyses of different researches on the perception of consumers, farmers and citizens in general in relation to the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food production and consumption. We established a comparative perspective between the researches developed in Brazil, in Europe, in Asia and in the United States. The researches themselves, with their results, had become a central part on the debates about GMOs risks, both among the sectors that emphasized them as well as in the sectors that denied them. One of our key arguments is that in Brazil there is a lack of researches in the subject on public perception of risk. This situation can be considered as an evidence of the lack of interest in the public participation in the debates about GMOs. These had been mainly controlled by organized social actors, without any or with only partial representation. Also the limited number of researches in Brazil showed the limits of the marketing area (that had assumed these work in other countries), still assuming a positivistic perspective on the consumers. And finally, we argue that the in the Brazilian academic field there is a no problematization of conflicts or consensus between lay and expert people in the debate about GMOs risks. In the first part of the article we focused in the analysis of the types of researches that had taken place in Brazil, choosing the ones that had been used as supporting different arguments in relation to GMOs by the social actors involved in the debate. In the second part we considered the researches developed in other parts of the world. And in the third part, we analyse the constrains and opportunities that different researches here selected as the most interesting can present for the understanding of the global debate on GMOs and also showing one interesting road for future researches in Brazil on public perception, not only of GMOs, but also of science.

Keywords : risk perception; public perception of science; genetically modified organisms.

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