Science, the Media, the Public Sphere, and the case of GM crops and food
This PhD project concerns the relationship between science and the media through a media sociological perspective. Science is not happening ‘outside society’ and inside the closed walls of laboratories, but on the contrary is constituted ‘inside society.’ This is a substantial starting-point for a media sociological approach to the relationship between science and the media which requires a systematic examination on different levels. We are seeking to explore the particularities of techno-scientific information in a mediatized society – which ensures that science, scientific research & technology are also subjected to mediatization to a high degree – and a transforming public sphere – as a consequence of the transformation of politics in two domains. Through the case study of genetically manipulated crops and food we hope to reveal the specific properties and dynamics of this mediated issue that turned into a genuine scientific controversy in Europe and Flanders, Belgium. Its media representations, the strategic actors driving these, and the reception of the media representations by the different audiences should provide us with a clear insight in the dynamics of a mediated issue as the GMO controversy, the what and how of the role of the media in reflecting and shaping the issue, to what extent the mediated information is used as a resource for political-societal action and intervention, and its contribution to social solidarity and the development of a social identity.