1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Cesagen · Research

Accounting for Knowledge of Genetics and Cloning in Mass Observation

Joan Haran

Start date


Affiliated staff

Kate O’Riordan (University of Sussex and Cesagen)


This project is based on analysis of submissions to a 2006 Mass Observation Directive, sponsored by Cesagen, about how respondents have acquired their knowledge of genetics and cloning. The project focuses on the respective contributions of personal experience, familial knowledge and media representations in respondents’ accounts of their understanding of and opinions about genetics and cloning.


To explore the methodological opportunities offered by the use of Mass Observation. To examine the ways in which respondents account for their knowledge of and opinions about genetics and cloning. To focus in particular on the ways in which respondents draw on mediated accounts of genetics and cloning in a range of genres, in the construction of their knowledge and opinions, as well as on any explicit self-reflections on that process.


Sponsorship of the 2006 Spring Directive of Mass Observation. Initial textual analysis of the material archive that resulted. Digital transcription of the archive. Further textual analysis supported by Atlas-ti. Construction of media timeline.

Project update

Respondents’ accounts showed a range of articulations of personal experience, familial knowledge and media representations. A high degree of self-consciousness and self-reflexivity is displayed in many of the narratives about the respective legitimacy of different resources drawn on to shape personal understandings of genetics and cloning and their social implications.


Haran, J. and O’Riordan, K. article in progress on ‘Mass Observation: Civic Epistemologies and Intimate Publics’.