Materiality and innovation: resistance as a skill shared by scientists, plants, pathogens and winegrowers
This article examines a vine breeding programme. Rooted in science and technology studies research on genetic innovation in agriculture, but also following a vitalist turn on living materials, this study examines the controversies surrounding the idea of sustainable resistance. I conducted a survey on a public breeding programme in viticulture for the pyramiding of resistance genes, ResDur program. The main goal of this project is to offer new possibilities of innovation for the reduction of phytosanitary products. Through this programme, the french research Institute is advocating sustainable resistance, i.e. several resistance genes for a single pathogen (resistance gene pyramiding). But this definition of good resistance is not shared by everyone. An analysis of this scientific controversy on sustainable resistance allows us to shift our vision: resistance does not eradicate pathogens, but rather offers a new way of living with them. To achieve this, it is not enough to create resistant varieties; they need to be observed and supported to prevent them from being bypassed. And it is the winegrowers who can provide this care for the resistant varieties. What this socio-technical controversy highlights is that winegrowers were not included in the script (Akrich 2010) for resistant varieties.