AO. discursive risk - Foster

AO: Foster’s analysis is strong at the eco, macro, and nano scales (see her outline and arguments on page 11). She is particularly strong at revealing how the unpredictability of the hoodia plant complicated different claims for knowing and cultivating it (e.g. difficulty of growing it by cultivators, the fact that it did not actually reduce weight as it was originally thought to for commercial prospects, etc.) She also focuses on questions of belonging, looking at growers, scientists, and San peoples negotiations over hoodia and how these are structured by inequality. For example, subjects can be both empowered and disempowered (where scientists acknowledge Hoodia plants and San peoples on their websites but continue to present them as mere sources of raw materials) (101). Foster also dedicates more time than most reflecting on her own research practices and ethical responsibilities.

Lesley Green's concept of “relational ontology” (2012: 6) points out a discursive risk in Foster's work, namely a reliance on stable occupational and identity categories to describe human actors (the categories of "San peoples," "Hoodia growers," and "CSIR researchers" appear to hold stable throughout).


Analytic (Question)




Creative Commons Licence