Biotechnology and Culture

Biotechnology and Culture

Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics
Edited by Paul P. Brodwin
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/22/2001
Format: Paperback 2 b&w photos, 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21428-7
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Biotechnology and Culture
Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics
Edited by Paul Brodwin

Untangles the broad cultural effects of biotechnologies

"A timely and perceptive look from many acute angles, at some of the most anxiety producing issues of the day." —Paul Rabinow, University of California, Berkeley

This impressive collection offers a number of rich examples of why the development of anthropological studies of science, technology, and their disruptive social effects is a leading edge of critical enquiry." —Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

As birth, illness, and death increasingly come under technological control, struggles arise over who should control the body and define its limits and capacities. Biotechnologies turn the traditional "facts of life" into matters of expert judgment and partisan debate. They blur the boundary separating people from machines, male from female, and nature from culture. In these diverse ways, they destroy the "gold standard" of the body, formerly taken for granted. Biotechnologies become a convenient, tangible focus for political contests over the nuclear family, legal and professional authority, and relations between the sexes. Medical interventions also transform intimate personal experience: giving birth, building new families, and surviving serious illness now immerse us in a web of machines, expert authority, and electronic images. We use and imagine the body in radically different ways, and from these emerge new collective discourses of morality and personal identity.

Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics brings together historians, anthropologists, cultural critics, and feminists to examine the broad cultural effects of technologies such as surrogacy, tissue-culture research, and medical imaging. The moral anxieties raised by biotechnologies and their circulation across class and national boundaries provide other interdisciplinary themes for discourse in these essays. The authors

Author Bio

Paul Brodwin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee and Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is the author of Medicine and Morality in Haiti: The Contest for Healing Power and a co-editor of Pain as Human Experience: Anthropological Perspectives.


“"'Biotechnology and Culture' may be heralding a new swing in the dynamic history of biotechnology." — Technology and Culture "The variety of ethics topics included in this text is its strongest asset. The compilation may not incorporate every possible opinion, but the articles are well-researched and balanced, so the book is both a great resource and starting point for someone who wants to examine a particular issue extensively." — The New Physician The cultural debates over biotechnology clarify the fears and longings of our age. With every new media frenzy over surrogacy, cloning, organ transplantation, and the like, people raise troubling questions: Can a child have two mothers? Should we learn our genetic futures? Are organs gifts or commercial products? This book traces such questions and their political and personal stakes over the last hundred years and in several contemporary locations. ”

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