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Examining Metaphors in Biopolitical Discourse
Unformatted Document Text:  Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 16 Under-the-Radar Metaphors in Biopolitical Discourse In this section, we offer examples of under-the-radar metaphors from biopolitical controversies that have engaged metaphorical message constructions. Recall that by biopolitics we refer to Foucault’s explication of “truth claims” in discourse about the regulation of “life,” with the implication that living things can be “managed.” From the policy perspective, Albert Somit and Steven A. Peterson argued that biopolitics draw from issues including “genetic engineering, treatment of the terminally ill, environmental pollution, radiation levels and birth control” (1987, p. 108). Marcy Darnvosky, a bioethicist who writes about ethics and feminist approaches to biopolitics, added to the list: “cloning for research and reproduction, sex selection and ‘designer babies’; race-specific drugs; ‘personalized genomics’; and markets in kidneys, eggs, and wombs” (2009, p. 38). We therefore selected four topics for our essay to illuminate discourse concerning genetic engineering, reproduction, management of life and death, and the political ramifications of death: Frankenfood, designer babies, vegetative state and the death tax. We will demonstrate how metaphors invoked by such issues construct narrow frames in the context of news and other forms of popular discourse. We suggest that such metaphors may limit complex interpretations on the part of readers and viewers. Frankenfood. Scientists introduced consumers to genetically modified foods in the 1990s with the Flavr Savr™ tomato which engendered much discussion in lay and scientific circles. Disparagers associated genetically altered products with Frankenstein’s monster, and the term “Frankenfood” entered public discourse. 2 We argue Frankenfood serves as an apt illustration of an under-the-radar metaphor in that the thoughts and 2 Researcher Iina Hellsten noted that Frankenfood was coined by Paul Lewis in a 16 July 1992 letter to the New York Times on the topic of genetically modified foods (Hellsten, 2003).

Authors: Coleman, Cynthia-Lou. and Ritchie, L. David.
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Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 
16
Under-the-Radar Metaphors in Biopolitical Discourse
In this section, we offer examples of under-the-radar metaphors from biopolitical 
controversies that have engaged metaphorical message constructions. Recall that by 
biopolitics we refer to Foucault’s explication of “truth claims” in discourse about the 
regulation of “life,” with the implication that living things can be “managed.” From the 
policy perspective, Albert Somit and Steven A. Peterson argued that biopolitics draw 
from issues including “genetic engineering, treatment of the terminally ill, 
environmental pollution, radiation levels and birth control” (1987, p. 108). Marcy 
Darnvosky, a bioethicist who writes about ethics and feminist approaches to biopolitics, 
added to the list: “cloning for research and reproduction, sex selection and ‘designer 
babies’; race-specific drugs; ‘personalized genomics’; and markets in kidneys, eggs, and 
wombs” (2009, p. 38). We therefore selected four topics for our essay to illuminate 
discourse concerning genetic engineering, reproduction, management of life and death, 
and the political ramifications of death: Frankenfood, designer babies, vegetative state 
and the death tax. We will demonstrate how metaphors invoked by such issues 
construct narrow frames in the context of news and other forms of popular discourse. 
We suggest that such metaphors may limit complex interpretations on the part of 
readers and viewers.
Frankenfood. Scientists introduced consumers to genetically modified foods in 
the 1990s with the Flavr Savr™ tomato which engendered much discussion in lay and 
scientific circles. Disparagers associated genetically altered products with Frankenstein’s 
monster, and the term “Frankenfood” entered public discourse.
  We argue Frankenfood 
serves as an apt illustration of an under-the-radar metaphor in that the thoughts and 
2
 Researcher Iina Hellsten noted that Frankenfood was coined by Paul Lewis in a 16 July 1992 letter to the 
New York Times on the topic of genetically modified foods (Hellsten, 2003). 


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