The international growth and influence of bioethics has led some to identify it as a decisive shift in the location and exercise of 'biopower'. This book provides an in-depth study of how philosophers, lawyers and other 'outsiders' came to play a major role in discussing and helping to regulate issues that used to be left to doctors and scientists. It discusses how club regulation stemmed not only from the professionalising tactics of doctors and scientists, but was compounded by the 'hands-off' approach of politicians and professionals in fields such as law, philosophy and theology. The book outlines how theologians such as Ian Ramsey argued that 'transdisciplinary groups' were needed to meet the challenges posed by secular and increasingly pluralistic societies. It also examines their links with influential figures in the early history of American bioethics. The book centres on the work of the academic lawyer Ian Kennedy, who was the most high-profile advocate of the approach he explicitly termed 'bioethics'. It shows how Mary Warnock echoed governmental calls for external oversight. Many clinicians and researchers supported her calls for a 'monitoring body' to scrutinise in vitro fertilisation and embryo research. The growth of bioethics in British universities occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of dedicated centres for bioethics. The book details how some senior doctors and bioethicists led calls for a politically-funded national bioethics committee during the 1980s. It details how recent debates on assisted dying highlight the authority and influence of British bioethicists.
This book is very much a group effort and without the insights provided by its contributors it would certainly not have come to fruition. Where authors have wanted to thank individuals for providing support they have had the opportunity to do so at the end of their chapter. As the general editor I personally would like to extend my particular thanks to Ryan Johnson for providing the impetus to start this book and for acting as a very good sounding board for its ideas. I also thank my colleagues within the sub-discipline of medical history, many of whom, whether they know it or not (!), directly helped to further my ideas for this book through their ever-incisive questioning. In this regard, I would like to particularly thank Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Pratik Chakrabarti and Jim Mills. My grateful thanks are extended too to the anonymous reviewer of this manuscript; they provided fabulously useful and constructive feedback and this book is very much improved directly because of their astute commentary. I also want to say a collective thank you to all the staff at MUP who made the production of this book possible, as well as the numerous librarians and archivists that assisted me over the past couple of years. I am very proud that all of the papers presented in this book are the result of fresh archival research and I genuinely feel that, both collectively and individually, they offer timely advances in our understanding of colonial medical history.
Finally, on a personal note, I thank David Greenwood who, as well as being my lovely Dad, is surely my shrewdest, yet most supportive, academic critic. I dedicate this book to him as well as to the entirely wonderful Sarb and the ever-witty Otto. These exceptional individuals comprise my precious family and make my life immeasurably richer every day through their unfailing love and good humour.