Fecal microbiota transplants: Emerging social representations in the English-language print media
This study investigates how English-language news sources have represented fecal microbiota transplants (FMT). FMT involves transferring stool from a healthy donor to a recipient with a dysfunctional intestinal flora in order to repopulate their gut microbiome. FMT applications are increasingly moving into mainstream clinical care. We investigate press coverage of stool transplants, as well as broader themes associated with health and the gut microbiome, in order to uncover emerging social representations. Our findings show that print media focused in particular on creating novel, mainly hopeful, social representations of feces through wordplay and punning, side-lining issues of risk and fear. We also identify changing metaphorical framings of microbes and bacteria from ‘enemies’ to ‘friends’, and ways in which readers are familiarized with FMT through the depiction of the process as both mundane and highly medicalized.
open access article
Citation : McLeod, C., Nerlich, B. and Jaspal, R. (2019) Fecal microbiota transplants: Emerging social representations in the English-language print media. New Genetics and Society. 38 (3), pp. 331-351
ISSN : 1463-6778
Research Institute : Mary Seacole Research Centre
Peer Reviewed : Yes