Sociology of Bioethics
The Sociology of Bioethics explores the sociological approach to bioethics. The Sociology of Bioethics is not a course in bioethics itself; rather than discussing the merits of a position (Is assisted suicide ethical?), we will ask how the debate has been framed, who is promoting which arguments, why the debate has arisen now, and how the issue is reflected in policy. In order to do so we will make use of social science research, along with philosophical treaties, legislation, and the popular media. The course is also not designed as a comprehensive treatment of the field; it will focus instead on choice topics that we will explore in depth. Our goal is to understand the nature of the bioethics profession and its modes of argumentation, and to explore the cultural, social, political, and professional underpinnings of bioethical debates.