[PLing] Einladung zum Gastvortrag Rodney Jones, 23.11.2015

Woydack, Johanna johanna.woydack at wu.ac.at
Tue Nov 10 13:54:18 CET 2015

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,

Wir würden Sie gerne zum einem Vortrag von Professor Rodney Jones, Professor of Sociolinguistics und Head of Department an der University of Reading. Der Vortrag findet im Rahmen des "English Research Seminar" am Department für Fremdsprachliche Wirtschaftskommunikation der WU statt.

Vortragender: Professor Rodney Jones, Professor of Sociolinguistics and Head of Department, University of Reading

Title: Marketing the Genome across Cultures: Copycat Companies and Discursive Clones
Vortrag in englischer Sprache.

WANN: 23.11. 2015 um 18.15 h
WO:       Campus WU, Gebäude D2, D2.2.228 (Besprechungsraum)

Title und abstract:
Marketing the Genome across Cultures: Copycat Companies and Discursive Clones

Advances in biotechnology have made genomic testing for disease risk and other traits available to the general public. The commercial marketing of personal genomic tests began with US and European companies like 23andMe  and DeCodeMe, but recently personal genomics companies are sprouting up in Asia, adapting the business models of US and Western European companies to different  sociopolitical conditions. Studying the discourse of personal genomics as it takes root in different countries offers an interesting lens on how issues related to genetics (such as identity, race, and disease risk) are constructed in different cultural contexts. It also provides a lens on how companies sometimes 'cut and paste' business models and promotional discourse from other companies and adapt them to local conditions.

This paper explores the way Chinese companies appropriate discourses of personal genomics from US companies and adapt them to the particular socioeconomic, political and cultural conditions of China. Drawing on principles of multimodal and mediated discourse analysis, it analyzes the websites of three Chinese personal genomics companies, focusing on the way they portray their missions, claim credibility, position their customers, and discuss issues like identity, disease risk, and privacy.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these websites is the degree to which they extensively appropriate (sometimes verbatim) texts and images from the websites of US companies, especially 23andMe. Even more interesting, however, is the way these images and discourses are transformed as they are strategically recontextualized. Despite this widespread 'copying', Chinese companies promote a very different understanding of personal genomics than their US and European counterparts. This analysis points to ways sociolinguistics can contribute to debates not just about the popular understanding of science, but also about issues of intellectual property and intertextuality in the global business environment.

Mit besten Grüßen,

Johanna Woydack

Dr Johanna Woydack
Assistant Professor
WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
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