Metaforat ja geenipuheen lupaus

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Metaphors and the Promise of Gene Talk

The paper discusses the role of metaphors in communicating technoscientific innovations. Advances in the mapping of the human genome have been constantly covered in terms of sensational "breakthroughs in the progress of science" aiming at revelation of "the secret texture of life". In public discourse this "great promise of science" is established on metaphors, as the analysis of the coverage of the Human Genome Project in the newspapers shows. Metaphors are used to promote science and technology and to naturalise certain views on genetics in keeping up the promise. Ancient metaphors such as the "book of life", a medieval image of science as "mapping the terra incognita" and recent metaphors borrowed from information technologies are constantly repeated and circulated in the public discourse. However, these promotional metaphors are also challenged and redefined in order to undermine this "great promise". As communicative devices metaphors are open for constant negotiation over their meanings.