Contaminated democracy : a discourse analysis of the submissions to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology at Massey University
This thesis investigated the practice of democracy in the Royal Commission of Genetic Modification, using a constructivist discourse methodology that drew on Mannhiem's sociology of knowledge, with a critical analysis of institutional power. Conflicting worldviews materialised in the sampled Royal Commission submissions, revealing a vast majority of submissions united by a vision of a 'GE-free' New Zealand. This majority stance was however pushed aside, with views expressed in the largely pro-GM Interested Person submissions proving dominant, contaminating the ideal of democracy. The Interested Person submissions are however more complex. A century old bureaucratic legislation promoted the contamination of democracy. Section 4A of the Commission of Inquiry Act 1908 excluded individuals and various groups from being heard by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. A consequence of such excluding was that the Royal Commission report presented a skewed analysis of the Interested Person submissions, unjustly favouring a pro-GM stance.