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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 23 Managing multiple identities – the challenge for New Zealand? It is in the GE Free coalition’s interests to represent the multiple reasons why New Zealanders might identify with the issues and reject genetic engineering; this encourages multiple groups to actively lobby government in favor of a genetic engineering-free environment. For as long as New Zealanders are divided over the issues and while the construction of an identity for New Zealand is contested because of the multiplicity of values/identities contributing to the debate, then decision-making will be circuitous and delayed. As Cheney (1991) has pointed out, organizational rhetoric is the business of managing identities: a massive task for the New Zealand government. The difficulty is that the debate is continuously represented by the media and by some lobby groups as involving two polarized positions and this campaign, the 2002 election debate, and the Green party stance on the genetic engineering moratorium have again tended to add to this representation. This interesting tension constructs pro-GE and anti-GE supporters as “them” and “us” and means a declaration of “war” over genetic engineering issues, and yet it is likely that whoever “wins”, the multiple positions and identities held by New Zealanders will not have been adequately recognized. At this stage, time seems to be the most needed commodity in the management of the debate to allow an ongoing opportunity for the emergence of oppositional discourses and the creation of genuine dialogue. New hegemonies may then be continuously negotiated that recognize the legitimacy of multiple identities and value systems and the plurality of discourses that these generate.

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
23
Managing multiple identities – the challenge for New Zealand?
It is in the GE Free coalition’s interests to represent the multiple reasons why New Zealanders
might identify with the issues and reject genetic engineering; this encourages multiple groups
to actively lobby government in favor of a genetic engineering-free environment.
For as long as New Zealanders are divided over the issues and while the construction of an
identity for New Zealand is contested because of the multiplicity of values/identities
contributing to the debate, then decision-making will be circuitous and delayed. As Cheney
(1991) has pointed out, organizational rhetoric is the business of managing identities: a
massive task for the New Zealand government.
The difficulty is that the debate is continuously represented by the media and by some lobby
groups as involving two polarized positions and this campaign, the 2002 election debate, and
the Green party stance on the genetic engineering moratorium have again tended to add to this
representation. This interesting tension constructs pro-GE and anti-GE supporters as “them”
and “us” and means a declaration of “war” over genetic engineering issues, and yet it is likely
that whoever “wins”, the multiple positions and identities held by New Zealanders will not
have been adequately recognized.
At this stage, time seems to be the most needed commodity in the management of the debate
to allow an ongoing opportunity for the emergence of oppositional discourses and the creation
of genuine dialogue. New hegemonies may then be continuously negotiated that recognize the
legitimacy of multiple identities and value systems and the plurality of discourses that these
generate.


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