Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Research in the Headlines

Bio-Medicine and Techniques of Reproduction in the Media

Date: April 20 - 22, 2005
Organizers: Peter Weingart, Simone Rödder, Christian Salzmann, Stefan Wörmann (all Bielefeld)

This conference brought together scholars of communication and media, sociologists of science, science journalists and human geneticists to discuss theoretical issues of science reporting and empirical analyses of mass media reporting of biomedicine and reproductive technologies. The empirical studies concerned the representation of the human genome project in the USA and Germany, the comparative analysis of controversies about the cloned sheep 'Dolly', stemcell research in print media and TV. As far as these analyses were comparable the patterns of the 'embedding' of the value sensitive knowledge of biomedicine and reproductive technologies into societal discourse became apparent. In particular, the importance of therapeutic arguments as tools to overcome value based resistance and fears are apparent.
The specific format of the conference in bringing together scientists and journalists has proved very successful. Particular interest was raised by participants from both sides in continuing research into the phases of media discourses in dealing with controversial knowledge and in the interaction with other topics.

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