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The scientists think and the public feels : expert perceptions of the discourse of GM food.

Cook, Guy and Pieri, Elisa and Robbins, Peter T. (2004) The scientists think and the public feels : expert perceptions of the discourse of GM food. Discourse and Society, 15 (4). pp. 433-449.

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Abstract

Debates about new technologies, such as crop and food genetic modification (GM), raise pressing questions about the ways ‘experts’ and ‘ nonexperts’ communicate. These debates are dynamic, characterized by many voices contesting numerous storylines. The discoursal features, including language choices and communication strategies, of the GM debate are in some ways taken for granted and in others actively manipulated by participants. Although there are many voices, some have more influence than others. This study makes use of 50 hours of in-depth interviews with GM scientists, nonexperts, and other stakeholders in the GM debate to examine this phenomenon. We uncover rhetorical devices used by scientists to characterize and ultimately undermine participation by non-experts in areas including rationality, knowledge, understanding and objectivity. Scientists engage with ‘the public’ from their own linguistic and social domain, without reflexive confirmation of their own status as part of the public and the citizenry. This raises a number of interesting ironies and contradictions, which are explored in the article. As such, it provides valuable insights into an increasingly important type of discourse.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Discourse and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: deficit model • genetic modification • genre • GM • science communication • scientific discourse • scientists
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations (Merged into PPR 2010-08-01)
ID Code: 24173
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2009 16:19
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 16:22
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/24173

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