FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

The Portuguese bet on biotechnology: high expectations vs. limited performances

GT 31 Sociología Económica

Rita Gomes Correia (SOCIUS - ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa)
João Carlos Graça (SOCIUS/ISEG/U. Lisboa)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales (SC GT 15 - GT 31) Franja 1B : Organizaciones, innovación y financiarización: el reto de la innovación en las organizaciones
Responsable(s): Pablo Rodríguez González (Universidad de La Laguna. Departamento de Sociología)
Sesión conjunta: GT 15 y GT 31
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: jueves, 30 de junio de 2016
Hora: 14:00 a 16:00
Lugar: 008

The identification of numerous genes that occurred within the ambit of the ‘Human Genome Project’, having the potential to uncover the role played by each of those, supplied important information that could be subsequently used in the development of gene therapies or ‘transgenesis’. Although genome sequencing has not reflected a clear increase in the understanding of biological mechanisms, it led to the emergence of new industrial activities, new equipment, techniques and methods. It also induced the recognition of the complementarity of various domains, allowing the takeoff of the so-called ‘third generation of biotechnology’, where software engineering, computational capacity and equipment design become fundamental dimensions of the process, alongside the skills and knowledge of scientists.

Biotechnology is often presented as a source of new opportunities, especially in the economic realm. The idea that this area may constitute the basis for the development of new industries, or the rejuvenation of mature ones, and that it can help companies to overcome the crisis or to strengthen their market positions, had a profound effect on policy decisions. For this reason, many countries have been implementing strategies endorsing its development. Regarding EU, biotechnology has been one of the few areas explicitly mentioned and closely monitored by the European Commission. Based on the persuasion that the field of life sciences and biotechnology, as well as information technology, is a new central area of the so-called ‘knowledge-based economy’ and, as such, a new opportunity for society, the European Commission has put forward a specific strategy regarding this domain, providing a road map to be followed by member-States.

Based on statistical and documental analysis, this presentation aims to address how a European country like Portugal has followed this trend. In that process we highlight a number of problems, namely those regarding rifts separating practical realities from the goals officially proclaimed in mainstream discourses.

Palabras clave: Biotechnology, expectations, performances