Henderson, A., Weaver, C. K. & Cheney, G. (2007). Talking 'facts': identity and rationality in industry perspectives on genetic modification. Discourse Studies, 9(1), 9-41.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1959
Despite the potential political impact of industry attempts to influence public policy about genetic modification, little research has focused on critical understanding of industry perspectives. This article explores the rhetorical and discursive construction of public messages about this controversial issue by two major New Zealand export industries. The kiwifruit industry advocates a very cautious public policy position, while the dairy industry has been a strong advocate for the commercial development of genetic modification. We demonstrate that these industries draw on multiple identities and rationalities to negotiate, express, and elaborate their positions on genetic modification, informed variously by discourses of risk, science, the political economy of the marketplace, and images of the ‘natural’ environment. We suggest that exploring how organizations seek to influence controversial socio-political issues through the management of multiple identities may facilitate greater understanding of viewpoints often represented in the media as two distinct polarities; that is as either ‘for’ or ‘against’ the issues.
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