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Modest witnessing and managing the boundaries between science and the media: A case study of breakthrough and scandal

Haran, Joan and Kitzinger, Jenny 2009. Modest witnessing and managing the boundaries between science and the media: A case study of breakthrough and scandal. Public Understanding of Science 18 (6) , pp. 634-652. 10.1177/0963662509338324

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Abstract

This article works with the figure of the “modest witness” and the concept of “virtual witnessing” to explore the case of the South Korean scientist, Hwang, whose stem cell breakthroughs are now regarded as hoaxes. We analyze the rhetorical techniques used by the scientific establishment and news media to first endorse, and then disavow, Hwang’s work. In particular, we focus on how the rhetoric of disavowal operates to maintain a dominant understanding of the normal relationship between science and the media. We highlight how journalists and scientists framed the original breakthroughs in ways which obscured the mediation of these events, but, once the scandals emerged, began to foreground the media as a problem. This retrospective acknowledgement of mediation also subtly (re)assigned the problem to the world of celebrity scientists and fictional genres and narratives. This lets news reporting, and routine science—journalist relations off the hook.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: cloning; discourses of science; media and science; media representation; representation of science; science and popular culture; stem cells
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0963-6625
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2018 20:21
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/17742

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