Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The social construction of media discourse: Washington's initiative I-522 on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
by Bosworth, Skyler, M.S., Northern Arizona University, 2016, 126; 10125362
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis analyzes the language and framing, that is, the discourses, used by opponents and supporters of Washington state Initiative 522, “concerning labeling of genetically-engineered food.” The initiative would have required companies to label all foods containing genetically engineered materials. The initiative went before Washington voters in July, 2012 and was narrowly defeated.

My central goal is to demonstrate how parties representing pro and anti-positions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) utilized particular discourses to frame the debate over biotechnology and labeling in an increasingly neo-liberal economy. This thesis strives to show how some of the frames, discourses and tactics of claims-making used in I-522 affected public opinion that ultimately lead to its defeat. I argue this defeat was due largely to resource mobilization, and effective fear-based discourse about I-522. There is an increasingly common theme, particularly in the global justice movement, that connects local problems to larger contexts of injustice and ideology.

This thesis demonstrates the intersection of pro and anti GMO positions in the Washington GMO debate, while extracting meaning from the many viewpoints and arguments surrounding Initiative 522. Ultimately, I provide insight into the ideas and beliefs behind GMOs, and cast light on the increasingly fear-driven character of American politics.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Michaelowski, Ray
Commitee: Jones, Lynn, Wonders, Nancy
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Agricultural economics, Political science, Criminology
Keywords: Discourse, Genetically, Genetically modified organisms, I-522, Initiative, Media, Organisms, Social, Washington
Publication Number: 10125362
ISBN: 978-1-339-83443-6
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