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The role of language in expressing the life sciences in a polarized age

  • Kathleen Hall Jamieson (a1)
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvani. Email:
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1 Coleridge Samuel Taylor, Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Prose and Verse (Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, 1853), p. 254.
2 For further reading, see Kathleen Hall Jamieson, “The need for a science of science communication: Communicating science’s values and norms,” in The Oxford Handbook on the Science of Science Communication, eds. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Dan Kahan, and Dietram A. Scheufele (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
3 Bernadine Healy interview with Sharyl Attkisson, “The ‘open question’ on vaccines and autism,” CBS News, May 12, 2008,, accessed May 16, 2017.
4 “Both sides breed confusion over GMOs,” Washington Post, October 31, 2013,, accessed May 16, 2017.
5 Dan Glickman interview for “Harvest of Fear,” PBS, October 2000,, accessed May 16, 2017.
6 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Statement of policy: Foods derived from new plant varieties,” May 29, 1992,, accessed May 16, 2017.
7 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “FDA’s role in regulating safety of GE foods,” May 14, 2013,, accessed May 16, 2017.
8 U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Biotechnology frequently asked questions,” February 8, 2016,, accessed May 16, 2017.
9 Law Library of Congress, “Restrictions on genetically modified organisms: United States,” March 2014,, accessed May 16, 2017.
10 Millstone Erik, Brunner Eric, and Mayer Sue, “Beyond ‘substantial equivalence,” Nature , 7 October 1999, 401: 525526.
11 European Commission, A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research (2001–2010) (Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2010), p. 16.
12 News report from United Kingdom, May 16, 1990, archived at, accessed May 16, 2017.
13 Brendan Carlin, political correspondent, PA News, October 13, 1998, archived at, accessed May 16, 2017.
14 Connor Steve, “‘Medical chief ‘forced to say beef was safe,”’ The Independent, October 29, 1998.
15 Conner, 1998.
16 Lynch Diahanna and Vogel David, “The regulation of GMOs in Europe and the United States: A case-study of contemporary European regulatory politics,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 5, 2001,, accessed May 16, 2017.
17 Ansell Christopher, Maxwell Rahsaan, and Sicurelli Daniela, “Protesting food: NGOs and political mobilization in Europe,” in What’s the Beef? The Contested Governance of European Food Safety, Ansell Christopher and Vogel David, eds. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006), p. 99.
18 Ferrari Matteo, Risk Perception, Culture, and Legal Change: A Comparative Study on Food Safety in the Wake of the Mad Cow Crisis (New York: Routledge, 2016), p. 8.
19 Schaffner Brian F. and Atkinson Mary Layton, “Taxing death or estates? When frames influence citizens’ issue beliefs,” in Winning with Words: The Origins and Impacts of Political Framing, Schaffner Brian F. and Sellers Patrick J., eds. (New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 121135.
20 Sniderman Paul M. and Carmines Edward G., “Reaching beyond race,” PS: Political Science and Politics , 1997, 30(3): 466471.
21 Simon Adam F. and Jerit Jennifer, “Toward a theory relating political discourse, media, and public opinion,” Journal of Communication , 2007, 57(2): 254271.
22 Brennan Julia M., Bednarczyk Robert A., Richards Jennifer L., Allen Kristen E., Warraich Gohar J., and Omer Saad B., “Trends in personal belief exemption rates among alternative private schools: Waldorf, Montessori, and holistic kindergartens in California, 2000–2014,” American Journal of Public Health , 2017, 107(1): 108112.
23 McNutt Louise-Anne, Desemone Cristina, DeNicola Erica, El Chebib Hassan, Nadeau Jessica A., Bednarczyk Robert A., and Shaw Jana, “Affluence as a predictor of vaccine refusal and underimmunization in California private kindergartens,” Vaccine , 2016, 34(14): 17331738.
24 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Outbreak of measles — San Diego, California, January–February 2008,” MMWR Weekly, February 22, 2008,, accessed May 16, 2017.
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Politics and the Life Sciences
  • ISSN: 0730-9384
  • EISSN: 1471-5457
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-the-life-sciences
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