566.1 Framing risk: Contention or legitimation?

Friday, August 3, 2012: 12:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Renata MOTTA , desiguALdades.net, Freie Universitšt Berlin, Berlin, Germany
This paper is about how different types of actors try to shape public discourse in the contentious politics over genetically modified crops (GMOs) by using „risk“ frames. Given the existence of an international legal framework that applies to food trade, all decisions regarding GMOs must be based on a risk analysis to health and environment. Notwithstanding the global character of food trade - in what concerns the flux of products, the transnationalization of actors and the international framework for risk analysis - , the competence to decide on the commercialization of transgenic crops rests at the State. Thus, this study compares the public debates in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico and examines how risk frames are used in each case. Theoretically, the aim of this study is to understand the emancipatory potential of „risk“ frames versus its functional property as a technology of government used to legitimize State intervention in the economy. This will be done based on an empirical research in which risk is treated as an element of political claim, namely, as a frame, used by actors  - inclusive the media - trying to shape public discourse about GM food. Based on the assumption of the fundamental role of mass media in the public sphere of contemporary societies, the research draws on media analysis and the frame analysis of news articles from three different types of news media in each country. The sample is composed of 326 articles from which 233 were submitted to content analysis.  The paper will describe the results by focusing on the different types of framing risk comparing countries as well as media sources.