The Challenges of Governing Biotechnology in Korea
- East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal
- Duke University Press
- Volume 4, Number 2, 2010
- pp. 335-348
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This paper explores the development of biotechnology governance and current challenges to its improvement in Korea. It aims to identify what element would be crucial to foster an effectively working system of biotechnology governance in Korea. The analysis is focused on two cases, the legislation of the Bioethics and Biosafety Act, and the development of ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) research. Our analysis finds that communication and consensus building between scientists and bioethics advocates in a broader sense is critical for improved governance. During the prolonged dispute over this legislation, the stakeholders advocating scientific advancements and those emphasizing the importance of ethics did not reach an agreement, which was reflected in the limitations of the act. The nascent ELSI research attempted to facilitate interdisciplinary communication and understanding between biotechnology scientists and those in humanities and social sciences, but was met with only limited success. Good governance of biotechnology requires scientists and other stakeholders to willingly comply with regulations and internalize certain norms. Based on our experience in ELSI research, a few suggestions are made to contribute to this end.