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Analogies, metaphors, and wondering about the future: lay sense-making around synthetic meat

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Abstract
Drawing on social representations theory, we explore how the public make sense of the unfamiliar, taking as the example a novel technology: synthetic meat. Data from an online deliberation study and eighteen focus groups in Belgium, Portugal and the UK indicated that the various strategies of sense-making afforded different levels of critical thinking about synthetic meat. Anchoring to genetic modification, metaphors like Frankenfoods' and commonplaces like playing God' closed off debates around potential applications of synthetic meat, whereas asking factual and rhetorical questions about it, weighing up pragmatically its risks and benefits, and envisaging changing current mentalities or behaviours in order to adapt to scientific developments enabled a consideration of synthetic meat's possible implications for agriculture, environment, and society. We suggest that research on public understanding of technology should cultivate a climate of active thinking and should encourage questioning during the process of sense-making to try to reduce unhelpful anchoring.
Keywords
anchoring, commonplaces, metaphors, online deliberation, social representations, synthetic meat, SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS, FOOD TECHNOLOGIES, CULTURED MEAT, ACCEPTANCE, NANOTECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION, CONSUMERS, RISKS, COMMONPLACES, DELIBERATION

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Chicago
Marcu, Afrodita, Rui Gaspar, Pieter Rutsaert, Beate Seibt, David Fletcher, Wim Verbeke, and Julie Barnett. 2015. “Analogies, Metaphors, and Wondering About the Future: Lay Sense-making Around Synthetic Meat.” Public Understanding of Science 24 (5): 547–562.
APA
Marcu, A., Gaspar, R., Rutsaert, P., Seibt, B., Fletcher, D., Verbeke, W., & Barnett, J. (2015). Analogies, metaphors, and wondering about the future: lay sense-making around synthetic meat. PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE, 24(5), 547–562.
Vancouver
1.
Marcu A, Gaspar R, Rutsaert P, Seibt B, Fletcher D, Verbeke W, et al. Analogies, metaphors, and wondering about the future: lay sense-making around synthetic meat. PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE. 2015;24(5):547–62.
MLA
Marcu, Afrodita, Rui Gaspar, Pieter Rutsaert, et al. “Analogies, Metaphors, and Wondering About the Future: Lay Sense-making Around Synthetic Meat.” PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE 24.5 (2015): 547–562. Print.
@article{6862502,
  abstract     = {Drawing on social representations theory, we explore how the public make sense of the unfamiliar, taking as the example a novel technology: synthetic meat. Data from an online deliberation study and eighteen focus groups in Belgium, Portugal and the UK indicated that the various strategies of sense-making afforded different levels of critical thinking about synthetic meat. Anchoring to genetic modification, metaphors like Frankenfoods' and commonplaces like playing God' closed off debates around potential applications of synthetic meat, whereas asking factual and rhetorical questions about it, weighing up pragmatically its risks and benefits, and envisaging changing current mentalities or behaviours in order to adapt to scientific developments enabled a consideration of synthetic meat's possible implications for agriculture, environment, and society. We suggest that research on public understanding of technology should cultivate a climate of active thinking and should encourage questioning during the process of sense-making to try to reduce unhelpful anchoring.},
  author       = {Marcu, Afrodita and Gaspar, Rui and Rutsaert, Pieter and Seibt, Beate and Fletcher, David and Verbeke, Wim and Barnett, Julie},
  issn         = {0963-6625},
  journal      = {PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {547--562},
  title        = {Analogies, metaphors, and wondering about the future: lay sense-making around synthetic meat},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662514521106},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2015},
}

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