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Social Contexts and Responses to Risk (SCARR): Science fiction fears? An analysis of how people use fiction in discussing risk and emerging science and technology

Kitzinger, Jenny and Hughes, Emma 2008. Social Contexts and Responses to Risk (SCARR): Science fiction fears? An analysis of how people use fiction in discussing risk and emerging science and technology. [Project Report]. Social Contexts and Responses to Risk (SCARR), vol. 28. University of Kent at Canterbury. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/scarr/papers/HughesKitzinger...

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Abstract

‘Beware Frankenstein foods’, ‘The Clones are Coming’, ‘Nano Robocop threat’. These are the sort of headlines which populate the media landscape. A great deal of concern is often expressed by policy makers about such pervasive references to fiction and their impact on public discussion about emerging science and technologies such as GM crops, ‘therapeutic cloning’ for stem cell research or the development of nanotechnology. Key science organisations and leading scientists accuse fiction of being a corrosive influence on science literacy, undermining rationality, confusing the public and obstructing ‘objective debate’ (see Kitzinger, submitted). Evocations around ‘Frankenstein foods’ are accused of stoking irrational resistance to genetically modified crops. Films about armies of cloned automatons are blamed for public concern about therapeutic cloning. Images of ‘Grey Goo’ drawn from science fiction scenarios are seen to promote fear of nanotechnology. But what is the evidence for such accusations against fictional media and what can analysis of people’s talk about science and fiction add to the discussion?

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Publisher: University of Kent at Canterbury
Funders: ESRC
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:53
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/28631

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