Contexts of Bioscience. On the Socio-Cultural Effectiveness of a New Technology


The study analyzes the present debate in Germany adressing problems of bioethics and its core categories (human being, dignity) together with the preconditions and implications in cultural anthropology that are underlying the debate. Therefore the study is based on material produced by the German Parliament s advisory comissions on problems of genetechnology, debates held in the German Parliament and, the ongoing discussion about the problem within the humani-ties. The main focus of research is on the patterns of argumentation which ground the debate about bioethics and which are being analyzed by the means of discourse analyses. The research interest focuses on the connections between biosciences and cultural anthropology.



Intensive consideration is given to the distinction that is not clearly defined in cultural anthro-pologal terms between the human being and the embryo. In light of this definitional gap, early states in the development of the human embryo cannot be clearly defined. This difference, no-netheless, represents the central issue in the disputes about the legitimacy of bioscientific re-search and practice (e.g. in stem cell research and in the reproduction technologies). In this context the symbolic status of images that are being used for the purpoese of illustrations in the media or to stress certain theses is of great meaning. Again, the question of how the human being itself or such entities being regarded as a human being is of great importance with regard to cultural anthropology. One of the main concerns of this study was therefore to take benefits from certain aspects of imagology for research in cultural studies about bioethics. One further focus of the study concerned the legal discourse on bioethics. This discourse has to be regarded as of central meaning for the discussion about bioethics held in society, because it takes up ethical, sociological and even philosophical motives by trying to integrate them into practices of social institutionalizing. In this perspective the analyses of judgements made by the two German Supreme Courts as well as that of the legal academic debate is of importance for the study. At least, various questions for the image of man that underlies the debate can be found here as well. Moreover, the debate focuses on terms of how far a term like human dignity can be legally extended.



The analyses of the bioethical debate shows that the meaning of ethically important terms like that of human dignity is produced through discourse and is bound to certain representational patterns of image and language. One result of the debate about bioethics has been a shift in the cultural anthropological meaning of human being to assure that even very early states of hu-man embryonical development will gain protection in terms of human dignity as guaranteed in the German constitution. Furthermore, one effect caused by this development is that the very premises given by the tradition of kantain ethics have to be deeply questioned, because, with regard to their anthropological background, they are only partly suitable for defining the legacy of early embryonic life forms.

Principal Investigators
Ahrens, Jörn PD Dr. (Details) (Cultural Theory)

Duration of Project
Start date: 08/2003
End date: 07/2005

Research Areas
Bioethics, Bioethik, Bio Science, Biowissenschaften, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Human Dignity, Image of Man, Kulturanthropologie, Kulturwissenschaft, Menschenbild, Menschenwürde

Publications
- Abwesenheitsgesten. Neue Probleme einer Bestimmung des Menschen , in: Michael Cuntz/Barbara Nitsche/Isabell Otto/Marc Spaniol (Hg.): Die Listen der Evidenz, Dumont Verlag, Köln 2006 (In Vorbereitung)

- Bilder und Menschen. Zur Problematik des Vergleichs einer Spezies mit sich selbst, in: Helga Lutz/Frieder Mißfelder/Tilo Renz (Hg.): Äpfel und Birnen. Illegitimes Vergleichen in den Kulturwissenschaften, Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2006 (In Vorbereitung)

- Mensch oder Embryo? Die gesellschaftliche Unbestimmtheit frühembryonaler Lebensfor-men, in: Handlung Kultur Interpretation. Zeitschrift für Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften, Heft 1/2005

- Schon wieder Übermenschen? Körper und Körperüberwindung im Transhumanismus, in: Paula Diehl/Gunter Gebauer (Hg.): Verkörperung Entkörperung. Körperbilder und Kör-perpraxen im Nationalsozialismus, München 2005 (In Vorbereitung)

- Die Metapher der Keimzelle. Zur Analogie von sozialer und organischer Organisation, in: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Heft 2/2005 (In Vorbereitung)

- Wo bleibt der Mensch? Das Lebensschutzargument in der bioethischen Debatte, in: Sigrid Graumann/Katrin Grüber (Hg.): Anerkennung, Ethik und Behinderung, Beiträge aus dem Institut Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft, LIT Verlag, Münster 2005

- A Question of Species. Astonishment at the Beginning of the Human Being, in: Law & Critique. Journal for Critical and Postmodernist Legal Studies, Vol. 1/2004

- Die Genetik des Geistes. Über einen Widerstreit zwischen Natur- und Humanwissenschaf-ten, in: Klaus Scherpe/Thomas Weitin (Hg.): Eskalationen. Die Gewalt von Kultur, Recht und Politik, Göttingen 2003, Francke

- Der Ruf aus der Wildnis. Zivilisation und Ritual, in: Paragrana. Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie, Bd. 12 (2003) (1-2)

- Der Tod als Rechtsnorm? Zum Konflikt um die Sterbehilfe, in: Christoph Wulf/Ludger Schwarte (Hg.): Körper und Recht. Anthropologische Dimensionen der Rechtsphilosophie, München 2003, Wilhelm Fink Verlag

- Die Ironie und das Lebendige: Konsequenzen eines Fortpflanzungsmedizingesetzes, in: Thorsten Bonacker/André Brodocz/Thomas Noetzel (Hg.): Die Ironie der Politik. Über die Konstruktion politischer Wirklichkeiten, Frankfurt/M./New York 2003, Campus Verlag

- Rezension: Michel Foucault: Geschichte der Gouvernementalität. Vorlesungen am Collège de France 1977/78. 2 Bd.e. Hg.v. Michel Sennelart. Frankfurt/M. 2004. In: Vorgänge. Zeit-schrift für Bürgerrechte und Gesellschaftspolitik, Heft 2/2005

- Rezension: Gesa Lindemann: Die Grenzen des Sozialen. Zur sozio-technischen Konstrukti-on von Leben und Tod in der Intensivmedizin. München 2002. In: Ästhetik und Kommuni-kation, Heft 121, Sommer 2003

- Lexikonartikel: Biopolitik. In: Bettina von Jagow, Florian Steger (Hg.): Literatur und Medi-zin im europäischen Kontext. Ein Lexikon, Göttingen 2005, Verlag Vandenhoeck & Rup-recht

- Lexikonartikel: Bioethik. In: Bettina von Jagow, Florian Steger (Hg.): Literatur und Medi-zin im europäischen Kontext. Ein Lexikon, Göttingen 2005, Verlag Vandenhoeck & Rup-recht

- Lexikonartikel: Menschenbild. In: Achim Trebeß (Hg.): Metzler Lexikon Ästhetik, Stuttgart 2005, Metzler Verlag (In Vorbereitung)

Last updated on 2020-10-03 at 16:36