Five Framings -- One Entity? The Political Ethics of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Nielsen, Torben Hviid
June 2005
Science Studies;Jun2005, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p30
Academic Journal
Following their initial derivation in 1998, human embryonic stem cells have been presented in five dominant framings. The original framings as a breakthrough in basic research and a medical hope were both intended and orchestrated to anticipate and overrule the old bioethical concerns. The third framing nonetheless questioned the legitimacy of the bare laboratory research from day one. Two subsequent framings presented adult stem cells as Nature's own solution and cloning as Mankind's techno-fix solution, i.e. as alternative points of passages to the ethical concerns, but they did not succeed to regain the agenda and the public discourse. The five framing are thus elements of a still unclosed encounter over-determined by (bio)politics. Finally the framing of "facts" of nature, technological "artefacts" and social "construct" is discussed in the light of recent interpretations of stem cells as "state" rather than as "entity", thus indicating that no single entity is to be found behind the five framings.


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