Ethics ‘by and for professions’:
the origins and endurance of club
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
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
A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s
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
The emergence of bioethics in British universities
‘A service to the community as a
whole’: the emergence of bioethics in
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
O. Jürgens, Die Beschränkung der strafrechtlichen Haftung für ärztliche Behandlungsfehler (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2005), 23–5.
Variations in the number of cases are generally far more consistent than König's examples imply. Next to the figures in A.-H. Maehle, Doctors, Honour, and the Law: Medical Ethics in Imperial Germany (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 32; see also Jürgens, Beschränkung der strafrechtlichen
Narratives of balance and moderation at the limits of human
the narratives of balance and moderation at extremes explicitly framed the white adult male body as the standard form: theirs was the ‘normal’ homeostasis, which was disrupted by extreme environments; theirs were the ‘normal’ physiological reactions that responded to this disruption.
Moderate gentlemen and scientific ethics
These earliest investigations into human adaptation – that is, re balancing – to altitude discovered that altitude caused an apparently universal, ‘normal’ physiological reaction in the blood. Significant
R. Savarese, ‘From neurodiversity to neurocosmopolitanism: beyond mere acceptance and inclusion’, in A. Perry and C. Herrera (eds), Ethics and Neurodiversity (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), 191–205.
S. Silberman, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (New York: Avery, 2015), 473
Visualising obesity as a public health concern in 1970s and 1980s
Gilman, Picturing Health , pp. 33–50 and 115–72; J. J. Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (New York: Vintage, 1988), pp. 97–137.
S. Shapin, ‘How to eat like a gentleman: dietetics and ethics in early modern England’, in C. E. Rosenberg (ed.), Right Living: An Anglo-American Tradition of Self-Help Medicine and Hygiene (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
J. Vernon, Hunger: A Modern History (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).
N. Götz, ‘“Moral economy”: its conceptual history and analytical prospects’, Journal of Global Ethics , 11 (2015), 147–62, https://doi.org/10.1080/17449626.2015.1054556 .
examine complaints concerning clinical decision-making. Nonetheless, continual media attention ensured that ‘scandals’ became a regular feature of reportage into the 1980s, and doctors became subject to public criticism. 9 Campaigns for change emerged out of such scrutiny, and throughout the 1980s parliamentary figures pressured the General Medical Council to clarify minimum standards for ethics and professional conduct and to bring incompetence into the disciplinary arena. 10
The weakness of complaints mechanisms available to professionals and