Using literary critical tools, this paper will examine the role played by metaphor in contemporary popular science writing on genetics. Following Richard Whitley’s assertion that popular science writing’s ‘expository practices are not epistemologically neutral’ I argue that, given its central pedagogical role in popular science writing, an analysis of the use of metaphor is critical to our understanding of popular scientific discourse. In this paper, I engage in textual analysis focussing on the presence and effect of just one metaphor – that of language – in popular science writing on genetics. Specifically, I argue that language metaphors are deployed strategically to support the authors’ positions on genetic determinism: metaphors of language, with a few notable exceptions, are seen to generally present a gene-centric approach to ontogeny.
|Keywords:||Popular Science, Metaphor, Genetics, Determinism|
PhD candidate, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
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