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Type: Journal article
Title: Representations of the stem-cell cloning fraud: from scientific breakthrough to managing the stake and interest of science
Author: Augoustinos, M.
Russin, A.
Le Couteur, A.
Citation: Public Understanding of Science, 2009; 18(6):687-703
Publisher: IOP Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0963-6625
Statement of
Martha Augoustinos, Amelia Russin and Amanda LeCouteur
Abstract: The meteoric rise of Professor Wu Sook Hwang who had claimed to have successfully cloned embryonic stem cells in two landmark papers published in Science (2004, 2005) came to an abrupt end when it was discovered that the findings reported in both papers had been deliberately fabricated. Given the heightened expectations associated with therapeutic-cloning advances and their potential for alleviating a range of illnesses, this recent case of scientific fraud generated considerable controversy and public interest across the world. This paper examines a sample of texts taken predominantly from the British newsprint media that reported on both the so-called scientific "breakthrough" (as it was initially reported) and the subsequent fraud. Using Gilbert and Mulkay’s analysis of scientists’ discourse as a theoretical framework, our analysis focuses on how competing repertoires of science were mobilized by the media and the scientific community to account for the fraud. Specifically, we demonstrate how the empiricist repertoire of science was repeatedly mobilized in the initial reporting of the stem-cell "breakthrough" which functioned to warrant the scientific veracity and promissory potential of the findings. In contrast, when this so-called "breakthrough" was discovered to be fraudulent, a contingent repertoire was invoked to construct Hwang as a "bad apple," who was unrepresentative of the scientific community in general. We also detail the use of a Truth-Will-Out rhetorical device which in a similar way functioned to warrant the practice of embryonic stem-cell research specifically and the institution of science, more generally.
Keywords: cloning
discourse analysis
scientific discourse
scientific fraud
stem-cell research
Description: © SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0963662508096777
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Psychology publications

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