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The Dao of human cloning: utopian/dystopian hype in the British press and popular films

[journal article]

Jensen, Eric

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Abstract The issue of human cloning has featured in the national science policy agendas in both the United States and the United Kingdom since the announcement in 1997 of Dolly the cloned sheep's birth in Scotland. Such news stories suggesting the imminent cloning of humans have inspired fictional entertainment media over the years, including numerous popular films. Study 1 examines elite British press coverage of human cloning from 1997 to 2004 (n = 857). Study 2 focuses on five human cloning films released between 1978 and 2003. Two sharply divergent discourses emerged from these data. Unqualified hope and habitually hyped claims of future cures permeated the press discourse. In contrast, the films constructed human cloning as an inherently dangerous technology often wielded by hubristic scientists in the tradition of Frankenstein. Both the predominately positive hype in the broadsheet press and the largely negative hype in the films indicate an impoverished and “thin” public debate on the issue of human cloning.
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 123-143
Journal Public Understanding of Science, 17 (2008) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)