Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo
University of Rome “Tor Vergata”

The narratives characterizing the current debate on world agricultural research tend to be part of a discourse that rationalizes past experience and future tendencies along the lines of extreme recounts of successes and failures. Stories of agricultural development and of accomplishments of research and science in agriculture tend to be organized according to either a conservative or a radical paradigm, which are in sharp contrast with each other and are at the origin of basic disagreements and biased information. For the neutral observer, these contrasting views—to the extent that they seem to concern facts more than opinions—cause disorientation and stress in the form of the well-known phenomenon of cognitive dissonance. Among the international institutions, the World Bank appears to have taken on the responsibility of attenuating such a phenomenon by providing, through its own narratives, stylized truths and balanced interpretations.

Key words: Agriculture, research, narratives, discourse, cognitive dissonance, biotechnology, global public goods.