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"Activism in Paradise": A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Public Relations Campaign against Genetic Engineering
Unformatted Document Text:  “Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public Tracking number relations campaign against genetic engineering. ICA-15-10063 17 Discussion The GE Free campaign represents a site of resistance to normalized political and economic discourses in New Zealand. This issues-management campaign relies on the construction of multiple national and political identities for New Zealand based on the re-articulation of three previously held identities: (i) clean, green and environmentally friendly - “100% pure”; (ii)“paradise” - reminiscent of the wholesome land of plenty created by New Zealand pioneers; and (iii) a “grassroots community” of politically active citizens (as in the nuclear- free protests of the mid-1980s). This represents a complex interplay of political and economic identities centered on New Zealanders as citizens and consumers. Citizens have voting power. Consumers have buying power; if consumers choose not to buy genetically modified products because of lifestyle values, and their opinion influences policy formation, they are acting as citizens. As the work of Moffitt (1994) on multiple images and multiple publics suggests, individuals construct multiple positions for themselves, continuously. In this campaign, publics could identify with one or all of the identities created for New Zealand, as either consumers or citizens or both. Media reports frequently demonstrate two possible national identities for New Zealand. Firstly, an identity is constructed as comparable to other nations – this involves maintaining scientific research expertise, developing cutting-edge technologies (including biotechnology) and competing in global markets. Secondly, an identity is constructed as different from other developed nations – this involves maintaining a “clean, green image” and a unique biodiversity to foster tourism opportunities and the niche marketing of organic products.

Authors: Henderson, Alison.
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“Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public
Tracking number
relations campaign against genetic engineering.
ICA-15-10063
17
Discussion
The GE Free campaign represents a site of resistance to normalized political and economic
discourses in New Zealand. This issues-management campaign relies on the construction of
multiple national and political identities for New Zealand based on the re-articulation of three
previously held identities: (i) clean, green and environmentally friendly - “100% pure”;
(ii)“paradise” - reminiscent of the wholesome land of plenty created by New Zealand
pioneers; and (iii) a “grassroots community” of politically active citizens (as in the nuclear-
free protests of the mid-1980s). This represents a complex interplay of political and economic
identities centered on New Zealanders as citizens and consumers. Citizens have voting power.
Consumers have buying power; if consumers choose not to buy genetically modified products
because of lifestyle values, and their opinion influences policy formation, they are acting as
citizens. As the work of Moffitt (1994) on multiple images and multiple publics suggests,
individuals construct multiple positions for themselves, continuously. In this campaign,
publics could identify with one or all of the identities created for New Zealand, as either
consumers or citizens or both.
Media reports frequently demonstrate two possible national identities for New Zealand.
Firstly, an identity is constructed as comparable to other nations – this involves maintaining
scientific research expertise, developing cutting-edge technologies (including biotechnology)
and competing in global markets. Secondly, an identity is constructed as different from other
developed nations – this involves maintaining a “clean, green image” and a unique
biodiversity to foster tourism opportunities and the niche marketing of organic products.


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