« All articles from this issue

Javnost - The Public, Vol. 16 - 2009, No. 4

NGOs and GMOs - A Case Study in Alternative Science Communication

, pages: 55-72

This article seeks to understand how and why we fi nd local NGOs performing a role as alternative science communicators in the social confl ict concerning agricultural biotechnology. First, a literature review points out that in the face of modernisation risks techno-scientifi c development has become contradictory, an evolution exemplifi ed as well as driven by interdisciplinary antagonisms. This creates opportunities for a scientifi cally supported public critique of science and technology by new social movements. In addition, the commercialisation of science has brought forward a “science-industrial complex” united by economic interests in the promotion of biotechnology on the one hand, and has contributed to a practice of science communication using the logic of public relations and corporate communication on the other. Once institutional science communication becomes hard to distinguish from corporate communication, NGOs are found to contest and reframe scientifi c knowledge by aiming at instigating epistemic shifts in institutionalised scientifi c conceptions and discursive changes in the social values underlying science. Second, I report on the fi ndings of six in-depth interviews with spokespersons for these NGOs, the aim being to achieve an understanding of how these NGOs make sense of their encounters with science in the GM debate and how they situate themselves in their role as alternative science communicators. Finally, I conclude by making some recommendations for journalism in general and science journalism in particular.

pdf icon Full text PDF | quote icon Export Reference | permalink icon

« All articles from this issue