Is plant breeding science objective truth or social construction? The case of yield stability

Cleveland, D.A. (2001) Is plant breeding science objective truth or social construction? The case of yield stability. Agriculture and Human Values, 18 (3). pp. 251-270.

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This article presents a holistic framework for understanding the scienceof plant breeding, as an alternative to the common objectivist andconstructivist approaches in studies of science. It applies thisapproach to understanding disagreements about how to deal with yieldstability. Two contrasting definitions of yield stability are described,and concomitant differences in the understanding and roles ofsustainability and of selection, test, and target environments areexplored. Critical questions about plant breeding theory and practiceare posed, and answers from the viewpoint of the two contrastingdefinitions of yield stability are analyzed, based on key publicationsin the field. Differences in answers to these questions appear to resultboth from the contingencies of plant breeders' experiences withparticular crop varieties and growing environments, and from differencesin social and institutional settings – plant breeding science isboth objective truth and social construction. The goal of using aholistic framework is to encourage discussion among plant breeders,farmers, social scientists, and others, of the bases for disagreementswithin plant breeding, in order to facilitate plant breeding'scontribution to a more environmentally, economically, and sociallysustainable agriculture.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: SNNigam collection
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crop genetic resources, Epistemology, Genotype-by-environment interaction, Green Revolution, Modern crop varieties, Plant breeding, Scientific knowledge, Sustainable agriculture, Yield stability.
Author Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, and Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA.
Subjects: Social Sciences > Agricultural Extension,Technology, ICT
Crop Improvement > Plant Breeding
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Balakrishna Garadasu
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2013 09:16
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2013 09:16
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