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.
I have used the word ‘disabled’ in this book in relation to hearing loss, with full awareness that many deaf people do not consider themselves disabled. I have avoided referring to people ‘with disabilities’ in order to emphasise, in line with the social model of disability, that people are disabled as a result of the workings of society. Disablement is often contingent on temporality, spaces, cultures and contexts. In this book, I demonstrate the way in which people have also been disabled by technology and measurement systems. Therefore, while I use the word disabled, I am fully aware that it does not reflect the experiences of most people with hearing loss, or the Deaf. In this context and in this book, the word Deaf is capitalised in order to indicate the way that the term is being used to represent the members and views of a group identified by culture and community rather than through their medical status. The Post Office often referred to ‘Deaf Subscribers’ and a ‘Deaf Telephone Service’, and I have reproduced primary sources verbatim. However, it is important to note that in those instances, the capitalisation of Deaf indicates the historically accurate title but is not indicative of the cultural identity now attached to the Deaf.