The first bite: imaginaries, promotional publics and the laboratory grown burger

O'Riordan, Kate, Fotopoulou, Aristea and Stevens, Neil (2016) The first bite: imaginaries, promotional publics and the laboratory grown burger. Public Understanding of Science. ISSN 0963-6625

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In this paper we analyse a 2013 press conference hosting the world’s first tasting of a laboratory grown hamburger. We explore this as a media event: an exceptional performative moment in which common meanings are mobilised and a connection to a shared centre of reality is offered. We develop our own theoretical contribution – the promotional public – to characterise the affirmative and partial patchwork of carefully selected actors invoked during the burger tasting. Our account draws upon three areas of analysis: interview data with the scientists who developed the burger, media analysis of the streamed press conference itself, and media analysis of the social media tail during and following the event. We argue that the call to witness an experiment is a form of promotion but that such promotional material also offers an address that invokes a public with its attendant tensions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
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Depositing User: Kate O'Riordan
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2016 12:49
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 07:53

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
EPINET - Media Analysis (FP7)G0854EUROPEAN UNION288971
People Award Dr Neil StephensUnsetWellcome TrustWT096541MA