Bioethics Around the Globe

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Catherine Myser
Oxford University Press, Jun 1, 2011 - Medical - 336 pages
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Contemporary bioethics, now roughly 40 years old as a discipline, originated in the United States with a primarily Anglo-American cultural ethos. It continues to be professionalized and institutionalized as a maturing discipline at the intersections of philosophy, medicine, law, social sciences, and humanities. Increasingly bioethics - along with its foundational values, concepts and principals - has been exported to other countries, not only in the developed West, but also in developing and/or Eastern countries. Bioethics thus continues to undergo intriguing transformations as it is globalized and adapted to local cultures. These processes have occurred rapidly in the last two decades, with relatively little reflection and examination. This volume brings together contributors from a wide variety of disciplines to take a critical, empirical look at bioethics around the globe, examining how it is being transformed - at both local and global levels - in this process of cross-cultural exporting and importing. One concern is to identify sociocultural forces and consequences which may positively or negatively affect ethics and social justice goals. This book thereby offers the first comparative anthropology and sociology of globalizing bioethics in the field, exploring the global dissemination, local adaptations, cultural meanings and social functions of bioethics theories, practices and institutions and comparing developed and developing countries. The volume considers a full range of countries on every inhabited continent, including: Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Topics include government agendas such as nationalism and nation building; agendas of powerful, associated professions (e.g., medicine, law); theological and political agendas such as 'culture wars'; agendas of entrepreneurial economies of profit; and other cultural and ideological agendas consciously or unconsciously advanced or contested by bioethics work in particular countries based on their unique history, politics and culture. This cross-cultural exploration of globalizing bioethics will be of great interest to a field that is increasingly introspective about its underlying sociocultural assumptions and biases. "At last-an unabashedly sociological and anthropological look at the globalization of bioethics, a really fresh approach to a maturing discipline. The chapters speak from the perspective of sophisticated Western-developed exporters of the bioethical paradigm [and equally sophisticated] Eastern-developing and third-world and interdisciplinary critics suspicious of the canonical view. Trained in the dominant school of American, mainstream philosophy, Myser draws on her long-standing commitment to a social and cultural approach to bioethics to take a fresh look at bioethics globally. She grasps the globalization of bioethics and the skepticism about analytical philosophy's Americanized consensus. The book sets the stage for a new era in bioethics theory and practice {debating] whether a universal common morality underlies the rich variation in national and cultural bioethics traditions." - Robert Veatch, Georgetown University "This path-breaking volume is the first to explore the global export of Western bioethics to a variety of non-Western settings. Explicitly critical, the book also points to the liberating potential of bioethics to achieve social justice and improve the lives of patients around the world. The book is a must-read for all medical anthropologists interested in bioethics." - Marcia Inhorn, Yale University "Bioethics Around the Globe should change the way bioethics is conceived and practiced in the U.S. and elsewhere. Its rich and wide-ranging comparative examination opens new possibilities for bioethical reflection. I enthusiastically recommend this wonderful book." - James F. Childress, University of Virginia "The past 40 years have seen a remarkable spread of bioethics to every part of the world. Dr. Myser's collection is a wonderful and rich exploration of its international impact, revealing important similarities and differences from country to country. It will have an important impact." - Daniel Callahan, The Hastings Center
 

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Contents

A Robust Range of Sociocultural Interests and Forces Shaping Bioethics Around the Globe
55
Bioethics as a Means for Negotiating Social Regional andor National Identity and Bioethics as NationBuilding
189
Bioethics as a Battleground for Religious and Political Culture Wars The Politics of Bioethics
243

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About the author (2011)

Catherine Myser, Ph.D., has dual professional training in Philosophy/Bioethics and Anthropology, and has served on faculty at medical schools and hospitals in six countries. Her research specialties are clinical, cross-cultural, and international bioethics, and global health, with special focus on engaging marginalized communities and reducing health disparities in the USA and overseas. She has received multiple Fulbright scholarships and other funding to conduct bioethics and clinical ethics fieldwork in Sweden, India, South Africa, Australia, Turkey, and the USA. Her publications have appeared in, e.g.: American Journal of Bioethics; Anthropology News; Journal of Clinical Ethics; Journal of Law and Medicine; Journal of Medical Ethics, Literature and Medicine; Medical Education; Medical Journal of Australia ; Seminars in Perinatology; A Companion to Bioethics; and The Ethics of Bioethics.

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