This article will query the ethics of making and displaying photographs of human remains. In particular, we will focus on the role of photography in constituting human remains as specimens, and the centrality of the creation and circulation of photographic images to the work of physical anthropology and bioarchaeology. This work has increasingly become the object of ethical scrutiny, particularly in the context of a (post)colonial politics of recognition in which indigenous people seek to recover dominion over their looted material heritage, including the remains of their dead. This ethical concern extends to the question of how and under what circumstances we may display photographs of human remains. Moreover, this is not just a matter of whether and when we should or should not show photographs of the remains of the dead. It is a question of how these images are composed and produced. Our discussion of the ethics of the image is, therefore, indivisible from a consideration of the socio-technical process by which the photographic image is produced, circulated and consumed.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The origins and endurance of club regulation

1 Ethics ‘by and for professions’: the origins and endurance of club regulation Doctors and scientists successfully argued that they should be left to determine their own conduct during the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, in a form of self-governance that Michael Moran terms ‘club regulation’.1 They portrayed medical and scientific ethics as internal concerns in this period – produced ‘by and for’ colleagues and mainly concerned with limiting intra-professional conflicts.2 This view of ethics functioned as what Harold Perkin calls a ‘strategy of

in The making of British bioethics

2 Ian Ramsey, theology and ‘trans-disciplinary’ medical ethics During the 1960s and 1970s Anglican theologians increasingly endorsed ‘trans-disciplinary’ discussion of new procedures such as IVF in societies and journals dedicated to medical ethics.1 Although theological engagement with medical ethics was by no means new, it increased from the 1960s thanks to a decline in religious belief. Figures such as Ian Ramsey, an Oxford theologian and later Bishop of Durham, endorsed greater engagement with social and moral issues to maintain the Church’s relevance in

in The making of British bioethics
A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s

6 Consolidating the ‘ethics industry’: a national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s During the 1980s many of the individuals who were pivotal to the making of British bioethics sought to establish what the British Medical Journal identified as a ‘national bioethics committee’.1 Ian Kennedy, for one, regularly called for a politically funded committee based on the American President’s Commission, and his proposals were often endorsed by newspapers and other bioethicists. They were also endorsed by senior figures at the BMA, who believed a national

in The making of British bioethics
The emergence of bioethics in British universities

5 ‘A service to the community as a whole’: the emergence of bioethics in British universities Bioethics made inroads into British universities during the 1980s, thanks largely to those individuals, groups and political changes that we have already encountered. During the late 1970s and early 1980s members of medical groups and public figures such as Ian Kennedy called for greater emphasis on medical ethics in student training. They also stressed the benefits of ‘non-medical’ input, claiming that it relieved clinicians from teaching responsibilities and would

in The making of British bioethics
Open Access (free)

‘Good List’ resulted from his status as ‘a key player in the shaping of the moral debates around human fertility and bioethics’.17 The profile and authority that Warnock, Glover, Harris and others have attained demonstrates that bioethicists now play an equal and sometimes greater role than doctors and scientists in publicly discussing the ethics of issues such as assisted dying, embryo research and genetic engineering. Although the notion of moral expertise remains contested and many bioethicists refuse to acknowledge it, they are often portrayed as what the Guardian

in The making of British bioethics

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.

Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise

‘applied ethics’. But many of the philosophers who engaged with ethical issues could not shake off the belief that morality was a set of subjective and often incompatible views and premises.5 Warnock was confronted with this problem when her committee disagreed over embryo research and she was unable to reconcile those ‘who said “Look at the benefits” and those who, at the other extreme, said “I don’t care what the benefits are: I feel it to be wrong’”.6 Warnock recognised that there was no way of uniting these opposing views or of reasonably showing that one was more

in The making of British bioethics
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s

3 ‘Who’s for bioethics?’ Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s Bioethics ceased to be an ‘American trend’ during the 1980s, when growing numbers of British outsiders publicly demanded greater external involvement in the development of guidelines for medicine and biological science. Their arguments were certainly successful. By the beginning of the 1990s, when the Guardian described the growing ‘ethics industry’, supporters of this new approach were influential public figures. One of the earliest and most high profile of these supporters was the

in The making of British bioethics
Open Access (free)

groups. Teaching ethics, once a matter of professional etiquette, takes place on dedicated courses and in specialised departments that emphasise law and moral philosophy. A growing body of interdisciplinary journals considers topics that were once confined to the correspondence pages of the Lancet or the British Medical Journal. And public discussion of issues such as embryo research, cloning, genetic engineering or assisted dying are now as likely to be led by a lawyer or a philosopher as a doctor or a scientist. This new approach is known as ‘bioethics’: a neologism

in The making of British bioethics