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Title: The debate on biotechnology in Britain : a social psychological analysis of arguments, images and public perceptions.
Author: Liakopolus, Miltiadis.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3609 5994
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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Biotechnology, sometimes described as the technology of the 21St century, has generated widespread controversies and led to political and economic conflicts. The thesis explores the nature of the public debates on biotechnology in Britain. The theoretical perspective adopted is based primarily on the theory of social representations complemented by the theories of argumentation and metaphor. It promotes a new perspective to the theory of social representations by suggesting a functional equivalence between the two main processes of representation, anchoring and objectification, and those of metaphor and argumentation respectively. The empirical part of the thesis is centred on an analysis of the debate in three social milieux, Environmentalists, Industrialists and Scientists, and is divided into three sections. The first section is a case study of the media coverage about the introduction of genetically modified soya in the market where the main lines of argumentation in the media are analysed.The second section concentrates on the broader media coverage of biotechnology for the period 1974 to 1996 and analyses the main metaphors used by the media to describe biotechnology and its applications. The third section analyses survey data from the British part of a European-wide survey study on biotechnology (Eurobarometer 46.1). Here, arguments and metaphors are revisited in relation to other important representations such as 'genetic inheritance', 'trust' and 'future expectations'. The thesis concludes with a recapitulation of the results of the argumentation, metaphor and survey analysis as they merge to form the dominant social representations about biotechnology. The results of the thesis are also discussed in terms of the conceptual advances and methodological improvements that arise from the research, and insights they provide for the future of the debate itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology