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The Embryo Research Debate : Science and the Politics of Reproduction - Michael Mulkay

The Embryo Research Debate

Science and the Politics of Reproduction

Hardcover

Published: 13th February 1997
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Scientific research involving human embryos was a major topic of public debate in Britain during the 1980s. Despite strong support from the scientific community, embryo research was initially condemned by many ordinary people as well as by special interest groups, and came close to being banned by Act of Parliament. Michael Mulkay describes the dynamics of the parliamentary struggle over the future of embryo research, focusing on such issues as: the clash between the anti-abortion and pro-research lobbies; the tactics of the Government; political ideology; the media's role; the importance of gender; religion; the impact of science fiction; the lure of medical advance; and the difficulty of maintaining ethical control. He explains how the advocates of embryo research eventually triumphed, and ends with an examination of the cultural tensions which linger after the debate.

'No parliamentary transcript or newspaper article has gone unread in Mulkay's definitive study of the politics of embryo research in Britain. The upshot of this narrative appears to be that the resolution of this public science controversy testifies to the wisdom of parliamentary democracy - but as in any Mulkay tale, appearances may be deceptive!' Steve Fuller, University of Durham 'In this brilliant and lucid book, Mulkay achieves the ultimate goal of science and technology studies: he gives us engaged yet dispassionate account of a multifaceted biomedical controversy.' Ruth Schwartz Cowan, State University of New York, Stony Brook 'As a major contribution to an understanding of embryo research, and to the complexities of parliamentary decision making more broadly, this book is highly impressive. For anyone concerned with developments in research on human embryos and reproductive techniques, it will be an essential read.' Christine Hine, Brunel University 'It is a scholarly contribution I expect will be of long-lasting value that Mulkay has compiled so rich a description of the ins and outs, the dates and the debates, the players and the positions in this singular moral controversy ... Mulkay's account is exemplary of the best ... Detailed, perceptive and thorough, it is a valuable portrait of an unusual public debate in Britain.' Sarah Franklin, Public Understanding of Science

Preface and acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Introduction
The background to the debate
The sequence of parliamentary debate
Political parties and ministerial tactics
The impact of the pro-research lobby
Embryos in the news
Women and men
Science and religion
The myth of Frankenstein
Embryo research and the slippery slope
Epilogue: intruders in the Fallopian tube or a dream of perfect human reproduction
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521571807
ISBN-10: 0521571804
Series: Cambridge Cultural Social Studies
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 13th February 1997
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.51