David A. (2001) Is Plant Breeding Science Objective Truth or Social Construction?
The Case of Yield Stability. Agriculture and Human Values 18(3):251-270.
This article presents a holistic framework for understanding the science
of plant breeding, as an alternative to the common objectivist and constructivist
approaches in studies of science. It applies this approach to understanding
disagreements about how to deal with yield stability. Two contrasting
definitions of yield stability are described, and concomitant differences
in the understanding and roles of sustainability and of selection, test
and target environments are explored. Critical questions about plant breeding
theory and practice are posed, and answers from the viewpoint of the two
contrasting definitions of yield stability are analyzed, based on key
publications in the field. Differences in answers to these questions appear
to result both from the contingencies of plant breeders' experiences with
particular crop varieties and growing environments, and from differences
in social and institutional settings: plant breeding science is both objective
truth and social construction. The goal of using a holistic framework
is to encourage discussion among plant breeders, farmers, social scientists
and others, of the bases for disagreements within plant breeding, in order
to facilitate plant breeding's contribution to a more environmentally,
economically and socially sustainable agriculture.
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Full text from Agriculture and Human Values: http://www.wkap.nl/oasis.htm/350950
corrected figure 19(1):91: corrected figure