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Observing Bioethics
     

Observing Bioethics

by Renee C. Fox
 

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Observing Bioethics examines the history of bioethics as a discipline related not only to modern biology, medicine, and biotechnology, but also to the core values and beliefs of American society and its courts, legislatures, and media. The book is written from the perspective of two social scientists--a sociologist of medicine(Renee C. Fox) and a historian of medicine

Overview

Observing Bioethics examines the history of bioethics as a discipline related not only to modern biology, medicine, and biotechnology, but also to the core values and beliefs of American society and its courts, legislatures, and media. The book is written from the perspective of two social scientists--a sociologist of medicine(Renee C. Fox) and a historian of medicine (Judith P. Swazey)--who have participated in bioethics since the emergence of this multidisciplinary field more than 30 years ago. Fox and Swazey draw on first-hand observations and experiences in a variety of American bioethical settings; face-to-face interviews with first- and second-generation figures in the genesis and early unfolding of bioethics; a detailed examination of the theatrical media coverage of what was considered to be a banner event in the annals of bioethics (the creation and birth of the cloned sheep, Dolly); case studies of how bioethics has internationally developed; and a large corpus of primary documents and secondary source materials. While recognizing the intellectual, moral, and sociological importance of American bioethics, Fox and Swazey are critical of its characteristics. Foremost among these are what they identify as the problems of thinking socially, culturally, and internationally in American bioethics; the 'tenuous interdisciplinarity' of the field; and the troubling extent to which the 'culture wars' have penetrated bioethics. This book will appeal to a wide range of doctors, scientists, and academics who are involved in the history and sociology of bioethics.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Ana Smith Iltis, PhD (Saint Louis University)
Description: This is a sociological and historical analysis of bioethics written by two social scientists who have participated in and observed bioethics since its early days.
Purpose: Their book, a critique of contemporary bioethics, documents the development of bioethics primarily in the U.S. and to some extent in other societies. It critically examines the social and cultural contexts in which bioethics emerged and continues to develop.
Audience: This will be of interest not only to bioethicists and bioethics students, but also to students and scholars in sociology, history of medicine, philosophy of science, and cultural studies. The authors are well known and respected scholars and, as individuals who have worked in and alongside bioethics for decades, they command the respect of readers.
Features: In the first part of the book, which is primarily historical, the authors explore many of the critical moments in the history of contemporary bioethics. They consider the activities of people directly involved in bioethics as well as the role the media and the government have played in the development of bioethics. In the second part, the authors critically examine bioethics and enumerate conceptual and practical deficiencies of the field. The third part examines the development of bioethics internationally. The authors' work is informed by many of their own experiences working in different societies and they pay special attention to the cultural and religious influences in bioethics. The final part is a critical discussion of bioethics in the U.S. today.
Assessment: This insightful book adds depth to the literature on the history of bioethics and delivers important and sometimes controversial insights about contemporary bioethics. It provides a much needed look at a field that has grown dramatically in only a few decades but that many see as lacking a defined scope and purpose.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199887835
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/23/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

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