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Social-science perspectives on bioethics: Predictive Genetic Testing (PGT) in Asia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 16:32 authored by Margaret Sleeboom-FaulknerMargaret Sleeboom-Faulkner
In this essay, I indicate how social-science approaches can throw light on predictive genetic testing (PGT) in various societal contexts. In the first section, I discuss definitions of various forms of PGT, and point out their inherent ambiguity and inappropriateness when taken out of an ideal-typical context. In section two, I argue further that an ethics approach proceeding from the point of view of the abstract individual in a given society should be supplemented by an approach that regards bioethics as inherently ambiguous, contested, changeable and context-dependent. In the last section, I place these bioethical discussions of PGT in the context of Asian communities. Here, a critical view of what constitutes a community and culture proves necessary to understand the role of bioethical debates and the empirical manifestations of PGT in Asian societies. A discussion of the concepts of family and kinship in relation to PGT indicates that any bioethical analysis has to take into account that bioethical values are not just reflections of a cultural community, but embody both bioethical ideals and prevalent political rhetoric which is exhibited, propagated and manipulated by individuals and collectives for a variety of purposes. I end by summarising the contributions that social science could make to the understanding of the bioethics of PGT.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Bioethical Inquiry




Springer Verlag





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Department affiliated with

  • Anthropology Publications

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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