As birth, illness, and death increasingly come under technological control, struggles erupt over who should control the body and define its limits and capacities. Biotechnologies make the traditional facts of life into matters of expert judgment and partisan debate. They blur the boundary separating people from machines, male from female, and nature from culture. In these diverse ways, they destroy the taken-for-granted gold standard of the body. Biotechnologies become a convenient, tangible focus for political contests over the nuclear family, legal and professional authority, and relations between the sexes. These medical interventions also transform intimate personal experience : Giving birth, building new families, and surviving serious illness now immerse us in a web of machines, expert authority, and electronic images. We use and imagine the body in radically different ways, and from these emerge new collective discourses of morality and personal identity. Biotechnology and Culture : Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics brings together historians, anthropologists, cultural critics, and feminists to examine the broad cultural effects of technologies such as surrogacy, tissue-culture research, and medical imaging. The moral anxieties raised by Biotechnologies and the circulation of these instruments across class and national boundaries are the other interdisciplinary themes. The approach here favors complex social dramas of the refusal, celebration, or ambivalent acceptance of new medical procedures. Eschewing polemics or pure theory, contributors show how biotechnology collides with everyday life and reshapes the political and personal meanings of the body.
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Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics …
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