Renata Motta

Renata Motta
Bildquelle: Privat

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

Adresse Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56
Raum 222
14197 Berlin
Telefon 49 (0)30 838-72539


Dienstag, 04.10.2016, 15-17 Uhr

Wissenschaftlicher Werdegang

  • Since 2015: Assistant Professor in Sociology (Postdoc Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin (Currently on maternity leave)

  • 2014/15:Research Associate and Lecturer (Pre-Doc Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Since 2014: Teaching and Research Assistant in Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for Latin American Studies
  • 01/2015: PhD in Sociology from Freie Universität Berlin.
  • 2011 - 2014: Doctoral Scholarship of the BMBF Research Project "International Research Network on Interdependent Inequalities in Latin America -". Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2008: Master’s Degree (M.A.) in Social Sciences, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil
  • 2007: Specialist in International Health, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
  • 2004: Bachelor in International Relations, Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Editorial and Board Positions

  • Board Member Research Committee 47 International Sociological Association (2014-2018)
  • Board Member ESA Research Network on Risk and Uncertainty (2013-2014)
  • Editor (2012-204) SoRU News. E-newsletter of the ISA/ESA Research Network on Risk and Uncertainty. ISSN 2035-5391 (SoRU News Print) and ISSN 2035-5405 (SoRU News Online)


Research Grants, Scholarships and Awards

  • 2014: Travel Grant by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to participate at XVIII World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan.
  • 2013: Scholarship by BMBF to participate at 3rd Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences.
  • 2012: Scholarship by BMBF 3rd Summer School “Asymmetries of Knowledge”, National University of Bogota, Colombia, October/29th to November 3rd.
  • 2012: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. II ISA Forum, Buenos Aires, Argentina, August.
  • 2012: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. 3rd International Political Science Association (IPSA)mAnnual Summer School „Concepts and methods in Political Science and Methods”, University of São Paulo, Brazil, January 30-February 10.
  • 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. 35º Encontro da ANPOCS, Caxambu, Brazil, October.
  • 2011: European Sociological Association Scholarship and Travel Grant. ESA PhD Workshop. "Social Relations in Turbulent Times", University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, September.
  • 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant. ESA 10th Conference: Social Relations in Turbulent Times, Geneva, Switzerland, September.
  • 2011: Dahlem Research School Travel Grant for a Research stay at ECLAC/UN, Santiago, Chile, March-April.
  • 2010: Travel Grant from Associação Nacional de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Ciências Sociais. 34º Encontro da ANPOCS, Caxambu, Brazil, October.
  • 2010: Jean Monnet Travel Grant for "Workshop for Young Researchers: European Integration   between Trade and Non Trade: Selected Issues", Maastricht University, Holland.
  • 2004: Scholarship from DAAD for Winter Course in the Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.
  • 2003: Scholarship from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, (Fund for Incentives for Research, FIP) in the project "Decentralization and Defragmentation in the Provision of Public Health: The Experience of the Intermunicipal Health Consortia in Minas Gerais", coord. by Profs. Drs. Carlos Alberto Rocha and Carlos Aurélio Faria, Department of Social Sciences.

Wintersemester 2016/17                                 

30208 Hauptseminar Global Sociologies Environment, Gender and Southern Theory (Renata Campos Motta), Zeit: Di 12:00-14:00 (Erster Termin: 18.10.2016), Ort: Garystr.55/301 Seminarraum (Garystr. 55)

33950 E-Learning Wissenschaftspraxis I (Barbara Fritz, Robert Lüdtke, Antonio Carbone, Renata Campos Motta), Zeit: Di 10:00-12:00 (Erster Termin: 17.10.2016), Ort: Tempodrom

Wintersemester 2015/16 und Sommersemester 2016

On maternity leave

Sommersemester 2015

Wintersemester 2014/2015

Sommersemester 2013

Ph.D. Thesis: Contesting GM crops in Argentina and Brazil

Brazil and Argentina are the second and the third largest producers respectively of genetically modified (GM) crops. The ten-year lag between the conversion of the majority of soy fields to GM soy in Argentina (1999) and Brazil (2009) relates to differences in social mobilization. By examining explanations for these different paths, the research addresses the conditions in which challengers from social movements changed the official pro-GMO policy and the conditions that prevented it happening. This situates the research in a wider problematic of the conditions for social participation in the trajectory of agrarian change. The research enquires not only into the role of national political contexts but also contextualizes these in relation to global agrarian capitalism. The theoretical framework establishes a dialogue between political economy and political sociology, mediated by a focus on social movements’ theory. It includes structural and actor-centred explanations, material and cultural dimensions, and a dialogue between social movement research and peasant studies. The analytical factors were placed in relation to one another in order to explain paths of social disputes over GMOs, classified in two ideal types of outcomes: a situation of hegemony or of controversy.

The study draws on methods of macro-analytical qualitative comparisons, adopting a research design of “most similar, different outcomes” while adding a time dimension to explain changes in the trajectories. The main data consists of 28 in-depth interviews with key activists during the years 2012 and 2013. The core of the empirical work is the reconstruction of almost two decades of social mobilization over GM crops. Based on that, the research provides key explanations for each outcome by identifying three main analytical factors: organizational bases and networks, contentious meanings, and structure of political opportunities. These are articulated in an explanatory model: early social mobilization – with mobilizing structures and contentious meanings – is a necessary condition to participate in the shaping of policy; but it is not sufficient as it depends on a third condition, namely, a favourable structure of political opportunities. The latter is influenced, in turn, by the national political economy and the structural location of these countries in global commodity chains (GCCs). Activists in producer nodes face harder challenges as commodities are important sources of private and state revenues. The agrarian poor bear the global socio-environmental burden of GCCs, resulting in their social mobilization if mobilizing structures and meanings are given. Finally, the perception that the locus of decision-making lies in national politics facilitates mobilization, while the perception that politics is manly determined by global market dynamics is demobilizing.

The thesis argues that the transformation of Argentina and Brazil into top world producers of GM crops cannot be explained by biotechnology performance but by political struggles, in which social movements and the rural poor were silenced, ignored, or demobilized by a network of actors in favour of GMOs. The argument highlights the relevance of studying political struggles over GMOs at least for two reasons, one empirical and one theoretical. Firstly, unravelling the complex history of the domination of GMOs in two countries that are propagated as breadbaskets of the world is informative to the wider global debate on agrarian futures and food security. Secondly, the issue of GMOs is also illustrative of contemporary challenges of how social mobilization and rights claims can counter systemic imperatives of global capitalism and political interests.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Castro, F. de, & Motta, R. (2015). Environmental Politics under Dilma: Changing Relations between the Civil Society and the State. LASA Forum, XLVI(3), 25-27.

Published Articles

  • 2004. Educação e integração regional: o programa Erasmus. Fronteira (PUCMG), Belo Horizonte, 3 (6), 49-66.
  • 2001. With Lamas B. G; Ribeiro, D. M. F. ; Salles, P. B. Tema da infância, regimes e governança global. Fronteira (PUCMG), Belo Horizonte, 1 (1), 15-35.

Book Chapters

  • 2016. Motta, R., & Arancibia, F.  Health experts challenging the safety of pesticides in Argentina and Brazil. In M. Chamberlain (Ed.), Medicine, Discourse and Power. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 179-206.
  • 2009. With Sobral, Fernanda. O risco dos OGMs: um conflito entre os campos político, científico e economico. In: Fernandes, Ana Maria e Sonia Raninscheski. (Org.). Américas Compartilhadas. São Paulo: Francis, p. 197-219.

Working Papers

Conference Papers and Abstracts (Selection)

  • 2014. Fighting GM crops in Argentina and Brazil: Global Constraints, National Opportunities? XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology. Yokohama, Japan, 13-19 July.
  • 2013. "Beyond the Mass Mediated Public Sphere: Social Movements and Social Media" ESA 11th Conference. Turin, Italy, 28- 31 August. Abstract Book. ISBN 978-88-97523-49-9. pp 847.
  • 2013. "Framing Risk as Injustice" ESA 11th Conference. Turin, Italy, 28- 31 August. Abstract Book. ISBN ISBN 978-88-97523-49-9. pp 1116.
  • 2013. "Are GM crops a risk issue?" ESA Research Network on Risk and Uncertainty Mid-Term Conference. Amsterdam, 23-25 January.
  • 2011. "Risk as a discursive strategy in the conflict over GM food: conceptual and methodological issues". In: ESA 10th Conference: Social Relations in Turbulent Times, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-10 September. Abstract Book. ISBN 2-940386-18-8978-2-940386-18-5. pp- 476-477.
  • 2011. "The conflict over the genetically modified food policy: who can contest the risks?" In: ESA 10th Conference: Social Relations in Turbulent Times, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-10 September. Abstract Book. ISBN 2-940386-18-8978-2-940386-18-5. p. 549