Att förklara människan – diskurser i populärvetenskapliga TV-program

by Nilsson, Malin, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The principle aim of the study is to describe, analyze and problemize the ways in which television science documentaries (within a public service context) discursively represent scientific theories, research results and conclusions about the origins of human nature and the causes of human behavior. The study covers 25 programs broadcasted by SVT and UR during a period of four years, 2002-2005, and 12 additional programs are used as a basis for discussion. Most of the programs included in the study are productions purchased mainly from BBC Science. Thus, managing editors, producers and presenters were interviewed for the purpose of illuminating quality judgements and purchasing criteria. A five stage-model of critical discourse analysis has inspired the method which emphasizes the network of communicative practices in which the media text and representation are embedded. That includes media genre, production and narrative conventions as well as the wider historical, social and political/ideological context and discourse practices of which the issues represented are a part. The critical discourse analysis has been complemented by ideas about different documentary modes of representation or basic ways of organizing documentary texts in relation to certain recurrent features or conventions. In the analysis these modes have been applied to understand the degree of transparency and editorial presence and visibility in the science documentaries. The importance of the discourses presented is related to their more applied meanings. When certain descriptions, explanations and understandings of alleged human “basics” gain priority, it may affect the possibilities to define and handle very concrete social issues in a way that is inconsistent with this fundamental perspective. Thus, the ideological function of the science documentaries (as public service-program and educational media) deserves serious attention.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Lunds universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Aesthetic subjects; human behavior; public service broadcasting; human nature; popular science; science documentaries; science on television; Media analysis; discourse analysis; science and the media


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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