The moral economies of the human stem cell crowd

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The moral economies of the human stem cell crowd

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Title The moral economies of the human stem cell crowd
Author(s) Mulinari, Shai ; Holmberg, Tora ; Ideland, Malin
Date 2012
English abstract
One critical issue confronting human stem cell research is the lack of embryos as research/therapeutic material. In the pursuit of ways to amend this shortage, ethical and legislative issues have been raised. Specifically, ethical and legal debates concerning donation of eggs for research and creation of human embryos in vitro have been recurring in many countries. More recently, some countries e.g. the UK and Denmark have witnessed similar debates around the creation of interspecies embryos. In parallel to these debates, however, medical and commercial expectations from the stem cell technology have been rising. In this paper we discuss the shaping and functioning of the moral economies in which these issues are settled. What kinds of moral “currencies” are viable and valued by different moral communities, and how can these moral economies be understood in relation to the bio- objectification process surrounding human embryonic stem cells? How is this bio-object constructed and reconstructed inside the different communities? Drawing from case studies of different yet interconnected moral communities at various sites – research, media, research policy and market – we will highlight the bio- objectification processes through the notions of “virtues and vices” and “expectations”. We will discuss relations between virtues and vices and expectations, and how they are closely related to each other. The analysis builds on various forms of data: e.g. interviews with stem cell researchers, policy documents, media articles and press releases.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) stem cell
political economy
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note Design and displacement – social studies of science and technology. 4S/EASST Joint Conference. Copenhagen, Denmark, October 17-20, 2012
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