Biopiracy in Peru: Tracing Biopiracies, Theft, Loss and Traditional Knowledge.

Chapell, Jodie (2011) Biopiracy in Peru: Tracing Biopiracies, Theft, Loss and Traditional Knowledge. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis concerns the different ideas, and relationships -to people, plants and knowledge -that -'biopiracy' brings together in Peru. Through assessing different concerns over the use of 'traditional knowledge', the thesis examines the multiple meanings of biopiracy which emerge through particular bundles of relationships. Contribution is made to existing literature concerning indigenous peoples and biodiversity by illustrating the complexity and multiplicity of understandings of 'biopiracy'. The thesis identifies contested meanings of 'biopiracy' and produces a typology of 'biopiracies' through an application of Tsing's (2005) concept of 'friction', and also an analysis of 'biopiracy' as an empirical subject of enquiry in the patent system. In Part One I consider 'biopiracy' and 'traditional knowledge' in international debates, and so establish the main ideological concepts that frame 'global' biopiracy. The thesis explores the plurality of biopiracy by providing nuanced accounts of 'biopirates' and 'traditional knowledge'. Part Two, is an analysis of the work of the Peruvian National Commission Against Biopiracy. This section examines the role of patent searches and of knowledge registers in producing accounts of biopiracy that: reify traditional knowledge, fracture connections with indigenous communities, and that represent the economic interests of the state. The thesis presents a quantitative account of original patent research into 'biopiracy', with an accompanying qualitative analysis that highlights the connections produced - and denied - through 'biopiracy work'. The final section presents ethnographic data from two Amazonian communities - San Francisco de Yarinacocha, and Calleria. This data indicates that particular forms of relationships to people, plants, and knowledge are privileged, as well as cast aside in the mobilisation of 'biopiracy'. Chapter Six presents an analysis of two distinct 'biopiracies': 'Biopiracies of theft' and 'biopiracies of economic opportunity'. These in turn characterise the different, contingent features of 'biopiracy' in Peru.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2011.
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Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:36
Last Modified:
12 Nov 2023 00:35