Technology, governance and place

Situating biotechnology in Kenya

Following the pioneering work of several Latin American anthropologists, reconnecting to the idea of place and examining networked strategies of marginalised actors are explored as useful approaches to analyse the governance of biotechnology in an African context.

Such place-based approaches provide an opportunity to marry more traditional understandings of macro levels of governance with the politics of how local institutions assign needs, build relationships and manage change.

The argument is illustrated via case studies of several tissue culture banana projects in Kenya. The cases show that a place-based approach to governance can be both empirically pragmatic and theoretically useful by providing a way to focus on the location of decision-making, and by putting politics and power differentials between actors more firmly within governance frameworks.