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Cyborg stem cells in public: deconstructing and taking responsibility for categorizations

Journal Article


Abstract


  • “Cyborg” entities do not easily fit into pre-existing categories and can therefore be useful in deconstructing these categories and showing their contingency and political power. In this paper, some cyborg stem cells are examined. They were discussed in Australian public debates as well as during interviews with scientists. Multiple ways of making sense of them are possible, but one became dominant, was inscribed in Australian parliamentary documents and may now seem to be a simple reflection of nature. By showing other possible categorizations and highlighting the contingency and ambiguity of concepts such as “embryo,” or “fetus,” the established definition of these cells is contested. In particular, the way it can displace conversations about women's bodies and the use in research of material from terminations is highlighted. Alternative stem cell categorizations are put forward; these are not “innocent” either, but may offer fruitful ways of talking about this area of techno-science in public.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Marks, N. J. (2012). Cyborg stem cells in public: deconstructing and taking responsibility for categorizations. New Genetics and Society, 31 (4), 359-384.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84871332487

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1938

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 25

Start Page


  • 359

End Page


  • 384

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • “Cyborg” entities do not easily fit into pre-existing categories and can therefore be useful in deconstructing these categories and showing their contingency and political power. In this paper, some cyborg stem cells are examined. They were discussed in Australian public debates as well as during interviews with scientists. Multiple ways of making sense of them are possible, but one became dominant, was inscribed in Australian parliamentary documents and may now seem to be a simple reflection of nature. By showing other possible categorizations and highlighting the contingency and ambiguity of concepts such as “embryo,” or “fetus,” the established definition of these cells is contested. In particular, the way it can displace conversations about women's bodies and the use in research of material from terminations is highlighted. Alternative stem cell categorizations are put forward; these are not “innocent” either, but may offer fruitful ways of talking about this area of techno-science in public.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Marks, N. J. (2012). Cyborg stem cells in public: deconstructing and taking responsibility for categorizations. New Genetics and Society, 31 (4), 359-384.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84871332487

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1938

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 25

Start Page


  • 359

End Page


  • 384

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom