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Reframing Rights

Bioconstitutionalism in the Genetic Age

Edited by Sheila Jasanoff

Publication Year: 2011

Investigations into the interplay of biological and legal conceptions of life, from government policies on cloning to DNA profiling by law enforcement.

Published by: The MIT Press

Cover/Title Page/Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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Series Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

Glenn McGee and I developed the Basic Bioethics series and collaborated as series coeditors from 1998 to 2008. In fall 2008 and spring 2009 the series was reconstituted, with a new editorial board, under my sole editorship. I am pleased to present the twenty-ninth book in the series. ...

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pp. ix-x

An edited volume is one of the most self-denying projects that academics can undertake. It disciplines space and time in ways that can try the most patient souls. It requires contributors to direct their energies toward making the whole stronger than the sum of the parts. ...

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1. Introduction: Rewriting Life, Reframing Rights

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pp. 1-28

Two encyclopedic bodies of writing—one social, the other scientific— define the meaning of life in our era. Encompassing, respectively, law and biology, these intertwined, mutually supporting, indeed coproducing textual projects frame the possibilities, limits, rights, and responsibilities of being alive ...

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2. States of Eugenics: Institutions and Practices of Compulsory Sterilization in California

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pp. 29-58

Between 1909 and the early 1950s, the state of California sterilized over twenty thousand patients in government institutions for the mentally ill and mentally deficient. Of the many states that had compulsory sterilization programs, California’s was by far the largest in terms of patients sterilized, ...

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3. Making the Facts of Life

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pp. 59-84

On August 9, 2001, nine months after taking office and one month before the terrorist attacks that changed the course of his administration, U.S. president George W. Bush held his first nationally televised news conference. The subject was not Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda, news of which had already percolated into America’s intelligence services, ...

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4. More than Just a Nucleus: Cloning and the Alignment of Scientific and Political Rationalities

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pp. 85-104

“It’s so scary to me that this guy I don’t even know can do that. It’s like he’s killing me” (Maienschein 2003, 6). Tessa Wick, an American girl affected with diabetes, is talking about Senator Brownback’s proposal to outlaw reproductive and therapeutic cloning. ...

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5. Between Church and State: Stem Cells, Embryos, and Citizens in Italian Politics

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pp. 105-124

By the evening of June 13, 2005, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, then head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana), appeared deeply satisfied.1 It was the evening following a national referendum in which the Italian electorate had voted on the relaxation of Italy’s “norms in matter of medically assisted procreation” ...

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6. Certainty vs. Finality: Constitutional Rights to Postconviction DNA Testing

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pp. 125-146

At least in theory, the American criminal justice system is designed to ensure that innocent men and women are not wrongfully convicted for crimes that they did not commit. Constitutional and procedural safeguards abound. American citizens enjoy the right to a jury trial, the right to remain silent upon questioning by the state, ...

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7. Judicial Imaginaries of Technology: Constitutional Law and the Forensic DNA Databases

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pp. 147-168

As two powerful epistemic institutions, law and technoscience work together in sustaining models of the individual and society and in producing ruling classifications and categories (Jasanoff 2008). An important case in point concerns new technologies of surveillance and their encounters with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. ...

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8. Risks and Rights in Xenotransplantation

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pp. 169-192

Started as a form of experimental surgery and advertised since the 1960s as a solution to the shortage of human organs, xenotransplantation (XT), the transplant of cells, tissues, or organs between different species, moved toward clinical application during the 1990s, ...

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9. Two Tales of Genomics: Capital, Epistemology, and Global Constitutions of the Biomedical Subject

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pp. 193-216

In this essay, I present two case studies of how genome science emerged and touched down in the early 2000s. One case is from the United States and the other from India (Sunder Rajan 2006). I develop these cases in the context of this volume in the hope that their juxtaposition to the other contributions ...

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10. Human Population Genomics and the Dilemma of Difference

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pp. 217-238

The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed significant institutional changes in the governance of human population genomics. Gone are the days when, for a few bottles of medicine, or some salt and beads, a population geneticist could go to the “remote corners” of the earth to sample human genetic material ...

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11. Despotism and Democracy in the United Kingdom: Experiments in Reframing Citizenship

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pp. 239-262

At the turn of the millennium, a series of fiascos over scientific advice to government challenged the peculiarly British ways in which such advice had been procured, framed, and used. Prominent episodes included controversy over decommissioning the Brent Spar offshore oil facility, ...

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12. Representing Europe with the Precautionary Principle

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pp. 263-286

The European Communities states that certain GMOs present potential threats to human health and the environment . . . [which] justifies the assessment of risks on a case-by-case basis and special measures of protection based on the precautionary principle. ...

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13. Conclusion

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pp. 287-296

Revolutionary changes in the scientific representation and technological malleability of living matter in the twentieth century entailed equally far-reaching changes in the accommodation of life, especially human life, within the legal cultures of nation states. This book’s principal objective has been to trace some of the most significant shifts, ...

Series List

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pp. 297-298

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List of Contributors

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pp. 299-302

Jay D. Aronson is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Carnegie Mellon University. His research and teaching focus on the interactions of science, technology, law, and human rights in a variety of contexts. ...


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pp. 303-310

E-ISBN-13: 9780262298667
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262015950

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2011