Seeds of Neocolonialism in Development Discourse: A Study of Neoliberal "Megarhetorics" of Global Development and Ecofeminist Resistance

Moushumi Biswas, University of Texas at El Paso


This paper is based on a case study of, the official website of biotech company Monsanto, and transnational voices of resistance as exemplified by eco-critical activist Vandana Shiva. My rhetorical inquiry concerns the future of the global farming sector and allows for an interdisciplinary exploration of transnational development discourse through the overlapping but complementary lenses of ecofeminism and critical discourse analysis (CDA). The purpose of my study – spanning rhetoric, composition, critical theory, cultural theory, communication studies, business ethics, and postcolonial studies – is to trace new notions of discourse creation in the 21 st century using a combination of textual, visual, and critical analyses of digital text. My study notes how Monsanto, a multinational corporation, crafts business and advertisement rhetoric on its website for the geopolitical practice of capitalism with the ultimate objective of economic colonization of nations – also referred to as “neocolonization” – in a postcolonial world. I examine how the “megarhetorics” of development and social responsibility form the bulwark of Monsanto’s argument as it seeks to justify and legitimize its systemic intrusion into the workings of agricultural communities around the world. Monsanto’s use of the notion of corporate social responsibility to tie the higher, socially benefic goal of “development” with its business undertakings is especially evident when it faces negative critique and resistance from consumers, activists, and the media. Thus, I trace the seeds of a new form of colonization germinating through the neoliberal discourse of agricultural development for food sufficiency. I also note resistance to such colonizing efforts by people who are ecologically conscious, and who believe in the ecofeminist ideology. I look at eco-activist Shiva’s weblog, Navdanya, as an act of such discursive ecofeminist resistance as it reaches out transglocally to audiences who have a common cause against Monsanto. My research is relevant to future scholarship in transglobal, multicultural rhetoric and text creation in a digitally connected neoliberal, capitalist world.

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Recommended Citation

Biswas, Moushumi, "Seeds of Neocolonialism in Development Discourse: A Study of Neoliberal "Megarhetorics" of Global Development and Ecofeminist Resistance" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10621843.