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Textual Representation and Intertextuality of Graphene in Swedish Newspapers

Journal article
Authors Max Boholm
Published in Nanoethics
Pages 20
ISSN 1871-4757
Publication year 2020
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 20
Language en
Keywords Language, Nanotechnology, Intertextuality, Discourse, Risk, social construction, news coverage, expectations, risk, media, nano, nanotechnology, framework, sociology, science, Social Sciences - Other Topics, History & Philosophy of Science
Subject categories Sociology


Textual representation of graphene in Sweden's most circulated newspapers is analyzed in 229 articles from 2004 to 2018. What is and is not said about graphene is explored through systematically identifying the lexical and grammatical patterns of sentences using the word "graphene." Graphene is said to be a super material with certain properties, to be an object of research, commercialization, and application, and to have societal significance. Given frequent classifications of graphene as a nanomaterial in scientific discourse, there is notably limited reference to graphene as "nano" in the newspapers and only marginal reference to risk. This paper discusses the findings regarding this Swedish newspaper discourse on graphene in relation to its intertextuality, i.e., how texts draw upon and recontextualize other texts: the Swedish newspaper discourse on graphene echoes discourses of promise formulated elsewhere in society; it is not very diversified in terms of themes; it is dominated by positive and neutral representations rather than by risk; and it makes limited reference to the nano-discourse, even though, according to most definitions, graphene is a nanomaterial.

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