2017 Winter - Twenty years on, the GM debate continues

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FPJ1402E - Bray, HJ & Ankeny, RA (2017), Reframing GM Communication: From Deficit to Discussion and Engagement

FPJ1402E - Bray, HJ & Ankeny, RA (2017), Reframing GM Communication: From Deficit to Discussion and Engagement, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, Autumn 2017, pp. 33-41, Surry Hills, Australia.

Most of our efforts in science communication about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been based on the idea that if people ‘understood the science’, then they’d be more accepting of the technologies associated with GM. This idea, known as the ‘deficit model’, has been widely refuted in the research literature, and yet it persists as a dominant form of communication about genetically modified (GM) technologies. In this article, we discuss why the deficit model was the dominant communication paradigm in the nineties and naughties, including why some of the messages from opponents of the technology (such as concerns about industry investment) might have been overlooked in communication efforts. In addition to GMOs, other scientific and political issues have contributed to our current understandings of science communication, including the role of trust and transparency, values, and community participation and engagement in research. We conclude with some recommendations on best practices for communication about novel innovations in agriculture.

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