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This volume examines the convergence of biotechnology and communication systems and explores how this convergence directly influences our understanding of the nature of communication. Editor Sandra Braman brings together scholars to examine this convergence in three areas: genetic information and "facticity"; social issues and implications; and the economic and legal issues raised by the production and ownership of information. The work highlights the sophisticated processes taking place as biotechnology and information technology systems continue to evolve.
The chapters in this book approach the complex history of this topic and the issues it raises from a number of directions. It begins by examining the shared features and spaces of biotechnology and digital information technologies as meta-technologies—qualitatively distinct from both the tools first used in the premodern era and the industrial technologies that characterized modernity. Next, the book explores what is and is not useful in treating the types of information processed by the two meta-technologies through a shared conceptual lens and looks at issues raised by the ownership of genetic and digital information. The final chapters are concerned with relationships between information and power.
Defining a future research agenda for communication scholarship, this work is beneficial to scholars and students in science communication, cultural studies, information technologies, and sociology.
Contents: S. Braman, Introduction. Part I: The Technologies of Biology and Communication. S. Braman, The Meta-Technologies of Information. Part II: The Concept of Information. D. Ritchie, Information as Metaphor: Biology and Communication. S.S. Wildman, Conditional Expectations Communication and the Impact of Biotechnology. S. Braman, "Are Facts Not Flowers?": Facticity and Genetic Information. Part III: The Ownership of Information. C. May, Justifying Enclosure? Intellectual Property and Meta-Technologies. L. Lievrouw, Biotechnology, Intellectual Property, and the Prospects for Scientific Communication. Part IV: Information and Power. S.H. Priest, T.T. Eyck, Transborder Information, Local Resistance, and the Spiral of Silence: Biotechnology and Public Opinion in the United States. S. Best, D. Kellner, Biotechnology, Democracy, and the Politics of Cloning. G. Murdock, Popular Representation and Postnormal Science: The Struggle Over Genetically Modified Foods.