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Biotechnology and culture : bodies, anxieties, ethics / edited by Paul E. Brodwin.


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Publication date:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2000.
  • Book
  • vi, 296 p. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Life and death at strangeways: the tissue-culture point of view / Susan M. Squier
  • Immortality, in vitro: a history of the HeLa cell line / Hannah Landecker
  • "From generations to generation": imagining connectedness in the age of reproductive technologies / Thomas W. Laqueur
  • Mediating intimacy: black surrogate mothers and the law / Deborah Grayson
  • Body boundaries, fiction of the female self: an ethnographic perspective on power, feminism, and the reproductive technologies / Gillian M. Goslinga-Roy
  • An all-consuming experience: obstetrical ultrasound and the commodification of pregnancy / Janelle S. Taylor / Computerized cadavers: shades of being and representation in virtual reality / Thomas J. Csordas
  • Chorea/graphing chorea: the dancing body of Huntington's Disease / Alice Ruth Wexler
  • The ventilator/baby as cyborg: a case study in technology and medical ethics / Robert M. Nelson
  • The ethics of the organ market: Lloyd R. Cohen and the free marketeers / Donald Joralemon
  • Reach out and heal someone: rural telemedicine and the globalization of U.S. health care / Lisa Cartwright
  • Biotechnology on the margins: a Haitian discourse on French medicine / Paul E. Brodwin.
Publisher's Summary:
The cultural debates over biotechnology clarify the fears and longings of our age. Biotechnologies are not just medical interventions; they pose profound challenges to conventional notions about identity, human connectedness, and society. 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.As birth, illness, and death increasingly come under technological control, struggles erupt over who should control the body and define its limits and capacities. Biotechnologies make the traditional "facts of life" into matters of expert judgement 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 taken-for-granted gold standard of the body. This creates both anxiety and exhilaration the public sphere, because without the "natural body, " the legitimacy of dominant social arrangements is seriously undercut.Biotechnologies, thus, become a convenient, tangible focus for political contests over the nuclear family, legal and professional authority, and relations between the sexes. However, these 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.In "Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics" contributors from several disciplines examine these broad cultural effects. In this book, the same technologies (surrogacy, tissue-culture research, and medical imaging) are analysed by historians, anthropologists, cultural critics, and feminists. The moral anxieties raised by biotechnologies and the circulation of these instruments across class and national boundaries are the other interdisciplinary themes. The approach here favours complex social dramas of the refusal, celebration, or ambivalent acceptance of new medical procedures. Eschewing polemics or pure theory, contributors show biotechnology collides with everyday life and reshapes the political and personal meanings of the body.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
Brodwin, Paul.
Theories of contemporary culture ; v. 25.

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