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Hegemony, commodification, and the state: Mexico's shifting discourse on agricultural germplasm

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Abstract

In this work, we examine the debate over thecommodification of agricultural germplasm in Mexico using aneo-Marxist theoretical framework. Specifically, we examine Mexico's movement away from a ``Farmers' Rights'' framework, whichtreats germplasm as a ``common good'' towards the passage of theMexican Federal Law on Plant Varieties, which sees germplasm as acommodity. In order to understand this legal change, the recenthistory of this discourse in Mexico is examined. Usingtheoretical insights based in an analysis of this discourse, weexamine the ideological elements of this debate. It is arguedthat an international hegemonic bloc has arisen to address thisissue, superceding the bounds of any single state entity andfunctioning through the international bodies of free trade.Taking the Mexican state to be relatively autonomous fromcapital, we argue that the hegemonic bloc influenced the changein Mexican policy. We conclude with a discussion of the possibleeffects of this legal change in Mexico.

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Gómez, F.M., Torres, R. Hegemony, commodification, and the state: Mexico's shifting discourse on agricultural germplasm. Agriculture and Human Values 18, 285–294 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011957308864

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