The road ahead: narratives and imaginaries of the value of biodiversity in shaping bioeconomy policy in Colombia

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In Colombia, the country’s biodiversity has been put at the heart of its bioeconomy policies. STS scholars have analyzed bioeconomy as the generation, commodification, and sale of ownership and biological material. Nonetheless, little attention has been given to bioprospecting initiatives in developing countries, let alone the incorporation of bioprospecting in bioeconomy policy. Further, the role of narratives about the value of the biological in supporting nation-building, or the relationship between nature, state, and its citizens, remain understudied. Based on interviews and fieldwork in policymaking committees, I argue that assumptions about biodiversity’s value and its valorization are supported by the use of genomic technologies; this allows further processes of value creation to remain uninterrogated. The need for Colombia to aspire to better futures accounts for the stability of assumptions about biodiversity’s value in recent decades. The right political climate has generated momentum for biological expeditions of Colombia’s territory and the rethinking of the social compact, in a country seeking to heal the wounds of an internal conflict with armed guerrillas–to become a more diverse and cohesive society. Ultimately, knowledge of biodiversity embeds assumptions of what nature is for, supporting a sociotechnical imaginary of how the country should be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2059137
JournalTapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioeconomy
  • Latin American science and technology policy
  • biocapital
  • bioprospecting
  • sociotechnical imaginaries
  • value of biodiversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General


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