Out of natural order: nature in discourses about cloning and stem cell research in Brazilian newspapers

Flavia Natércia da Silva Medeiros

Different conceptions of nature influence media coverage and public opinion about biotechnology. This study reports on a discourse analysis of the ideas about nature and what is natural expressed in Brazilian media coverage of cloning and stem cell research. In the discourse against this research, the biotechnologies in question are placed outside the natural order of things and deemed immoral. In the discourse of those who defend it, nature is portrayed as indifferent to the fate of humans or even cruel, or else a barrier to be overcome, while cloning and embryonic stem cells are naturalized and Dolly the sheep is anthropomorphized. The mythifying or transcendental representations of nature do not just influence public opinion, but also have ethical and political implications.

nature; cloning; stem cell research; discourse; Brazilian press

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