Dagens Gennyheter : Hur massmedier berättar om genetik och genteknik

Sammanfattning: During the 1990’s gene technology got a break-through – both as a science and in people’s consciousness. Media reported frequently about scientific breakthroughs. Cloned animals, localized genes, hopes of new medicines and alarming reports on genetically modified food are a few examples on what Swedish mass media has reported on gene technology during the decade. The aim of the dissertation ”Dagens Gennyheter. Hur massmedier berättar om genetik och genteknik” (”Gene News of Today. How Mass Media Talks about Genetics and Gene Technology”) is to analyze how the reporting not only reflects facts, but also the contexts in which the texts are produced. The narratives convey messages of what is natural and unnatural, the relationship between nature and nurture, the risks of gene technology and the credibility of science. The first part of the dissertation focuses actors who have influence on the media narratives. Here I discuss, for example, what meaning ideals and routines for science journalism have for the texts, how the intentions to be a fast news reporter and an objective educationist sometimes collide. Also people outside the media world play an important part in the construction of media narratives. Here I illustrate the meaning of outsiders by analyzing the relationship between media and representantives for a handicap organization (The Swedish Association of Neurologically Disabled) and for genetic research. The outsiders’ strategies to enter the medial arena are studied, as well as how these two categories are described in mass media. The second part of the dissertation deals with which discourses about biology and culture, natural and unnatural, fact and fiction the media language is founded on. How does the journalists’ choice of metaphors reflect what is seen as natural, biological and scientific in our society. The importance of fiction is also studied in an analysis of how the movie ”Jurassic Park” is used as a metaphor in news reports – and how the borderline between fact and fiction is blurred. Metaphors are interesting to study because their messages guide the readers’ or listeners’ associations in a specific direction. The metaphors can be seen as both reflecting and affecting the culture. The media texts are analyzed as expressions of discourses. They are characterized by an intertextuality – how texts from different genres refer to each other – which also gives the narratives a certain meaning. The texts are also characterized by interdiscoursivity – an interplay between different norms and discourses. This interdiscoursivity leads to changing or confirmation of the discourses. By studying how discourses meet and interplay it is possible to avoid getting stranded in steraotypes pattern of thinking in either journalism or genetics. By analyzing interactions between practices, norms and texts, it is possible to look beyond scientific stereotypes and visualize new emerging patterns.

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