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Institutionalization of Ethical Expertise: The  National Ethics Councils in Germany and Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Gender, Culture and History, Gender studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8084-2045
2008 (English)In: Social Studies of Science, European Association For The Study Of Science And Technology: Book of Abstracts: Rotterdam 2008, 2008, p. 136-Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a paradoxical development that characterizes the way modern societies deal with ethical problems. Issues concerning the good life are privatized and regarded as individual decisions. Simultaneously, there is a politicization of the ethical. The clearest expression may be the institutionalization of ethical expertise or public advisory bodies that act as consultants to political decision-makers. Public ethics bodies challenge conventional categorical ways of thinking about the distinctness of science, ethics and policy. Therefore, it is not surprising that this new type of institution is a contentious issue in both public and academic debates. The existing scholarly literature focusses largely on the relation between ethics advisory bodies and moral philosophy. This paper explores how such advisory institutions actually work from a double perspective. On the one hand, the paper examines the emergence and role of such bodies in political processes and thus how they have come to be understood as “political expertise”; on the other hand, the paper investigates the concrete working procedures of these councils and thus their modes of producing “ethical expertise”. The paper compares two national cases, namely Germany’s National Ethics Council with the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics. Both countries represent contrasting cases of dominant ethical traditions and with regard to the time of emergence of such bodies. The Swedish council was a pioneer institution inaugurated in 1985, whereas Germany´s council  was a latecomer, established in 2001.  Despite the differences the results of the study indicate similarities in the modes of producing “ethical expertise” which in the longer run might lead to stronger convergence. For the most part, commission ethics proves to be a practical matter chiefly determined by pragmatism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. p. 136-
National Category
Ethics Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39115OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-39115DiVA, id: diva2:1358016
Conference
Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science, Rotterdam, August 20-23, 2008.
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European StudiesAvailable from: 2019-10-06 Created: 2019-10-06 Last updated: 2019-10-07Bibliographically approved

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Kulawik, Teresa

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf