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Gabriela Pechlaner

Gabriela Pechlaner, PhD

Associate Professor

School of Culture, Media, and Society

Abbotsford campus, D3077

Phone: 604-504-7441

email Gabriela


Dr. Pechlaner’s research interests are in the sociology of agriculture and food, with a particular emphasis on the legal and regulatory aspects of related new technologies. Her doctoral research investigated the extent to which there has been a social reorganization of agricultural production as a result of the evolving patent laws and contractual restrictions that accompany new agricultural biotechnologies. The results of this research were published in a monograph—Corporate Crops: Biotechnology, Agriculture and the Struggle for Control (University of Texas Press, 2012).

This research path was continued in a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship hosted at the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Lancaster University, UK). Given the importance of a supportive legal and regulatory environment for the successful commercialization of agricultural biotechnologies in the United States, the increasing use of law by the technologies’ opponents raises interesting questions regarding the extent to which such opposition can actually affect the pro-agricultural biotechnology regulatory dynamics in the United States. This research project is ongoing.

Most recently, Dr. Pechlaner completed a three year SSHRC standard research grant, co-investigated with Dr. Gerardo Otero (SFU), which undertook a comparative investigation of changes in capital accumulation in agriculture and food since the mid-1980s—the “neoliberal food regime.” One of the chief dynamic factors of this regime is neoregulation, national and suprastate regulatory changes which include trade liberalization, strengthened intellectual property rights, and the promotion of the private sector. While there is a clear association between neoregulation and nutritionally degraded diets as a result of the globalization of cheap, industrial foods, the extent and spread of this trend is still ill-defined. Drs. Otero and Pechlaner developed a ‘neoliberal diet risk’ index as a geographically and temporally comparative tool to this end. 

Teaching Interests

SOC 101                       Introduction to Sociology
SOC 247                       Culture of Capitalism
SOC 254                       Writing for the Social Sciences
SOC/ANTH/MACS 255   Introduction to Research Methods
SOC/GEOG 313             Agriculture and Rural Life
SOC 346                       Environmental Justice
SOC 348                       Social Movements
SOC/ANTH 360             Eating & Thinking:Food, Identity, & Power in Global Societies

Research Interests


Sociology of agriculture and food; sociology of the environment; natural resources and new resource technologies (agricultural biotechnologies, aquaculture); social movements; enviornmental justice; diet, class, and food security; political economy; globalization


Pechlaner, G. 2019. "Neoliberalization and Alternative Food movements: Vermont's 'Right to Know' GMO Campaign." Journal of Rural Studies. (Vol./No./Pgs./DOI pending).

Otero, G., E. Can Gurcan, G. Pechlaner & G. Liberman. 2018. "Food Security and Inequalityt: Measuring the Risk of Exposure to the Neoliberal Diet." Jouranal of Agrarian Change. DOI: 10.1111/joac.12252. (2018 early view)

Otero, G., G. Pechlaner, Giselle Lieberman, and E. Can Gurcan. 2015. “The Neoliberal Diet and Inequality in the United States.” Social Science and Medicine. 2015. 142: 47-55.

Pechlaner, G. and G. Otero. 2015. “The political economy of agriculture and food in North America: Toward convergence or divergence?” Ch. 7 in the Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food. Alessandro Bonnano and Larry Busch, editors. Cheltenham, UK and Northhampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.

Otero, G., G. Pechlaner, and E. Can Gurcan. 2015. “The Neoliberal Diet: Fattening Profits and People.” In Stephen Haymes, Maria Vidal de Haymes and Reuben Miller, eds. Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States. Routledge.

Pechlaner, G. and D. B. Tindall. 2013. “Changing Contexts: Environmentalism, Aboriginal Community and Forest Company Joint Ventures and the Case of Iisaak.” In First Nations and Forest Lands: Social and Cultural Perspectives. Tindall, D., R. Tosper and P. Perrault, (eds). Vancouver: UBC Press. 

Otero, G. and G. Pechlaner. 2013. “Is Biotechnology the Answer.” Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology. 4th Canadian Edition. J. Macionis, N. Benokraitis and P. Urmetzer (eds.). Toronto: Pearson.

Otero, G., G. Pechlaner, and E. Can Gurcan. 2013. “The Political Economy of ‘Food Security’ and Trade: uneven and combined dependency.” Rural Sociology. 78(3): 263-289.

Pechlaner, G. 2012. Corporate Crops: Biotechnology, Agriculture, and the Struggle for Control. Austin: University of Texas Press. 

Pechlaner, G. 2012. “GMO Free America? Mendocino County and the Impact of Local Level Resistance to the Agricultural Biotechnology Paradigm.” International Journal of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Vol. 19 (3): 445-464. 

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