This paper presents a qualitative, comparative study of future narratives on GM crops in Denmark and England, for the period 2000-2012. The data shows that the narrated futures are shaped by post-Thatcherist issues of class and Neo-corporatist welfare ideology respectively. The study concludes that narrated futures are used to help legitimate or challenge a dominant political power. Future scenarios in science communication are use, not only for prediction or prognosis, but to change the future by impacting present behaviour. Also, the future cannot be used on a case by case basis in science communication efforts, since futures interact to generate dilemmas and possibly paralysis through lost opportunity costs. Finally, there are important barriers to international communication of science, which are located beyond mere grammatical or linguistic competency, but concern issues of culture and ideology.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Promises and Threats
Uses of ‘the future’ in Danish and British GM coverage

Thomas Robinson   University of Southern Denmark

This paper presents a qualitative, comparative study of future narratives on GM crops in Denmark and England, for the period 2000-2012. The data shows that the narrated futures are shaped by post-Thatcherist issues of class and Neo-corporatist welfare ideology respectively. The study concludes that narrated futures are used to help legitimate or challenge a dominant political power. Future scenarios in science communication are use, not only for prediction or prognosis, but to change the future by impacting present behaviour. Also, the future cannot be used on a case by case basis in science communication efforts, since futures interact to generate dilemmas and possibly paralysis through lost opportunity costs. Finally, there are important barriers to international communication of science, which are located beyond mere grammatical or linguistic competency, but concern issues of culture and ideology.

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