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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

4 ‘Where to draw the line?’ Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise The political enthusiasm for external oversight was made clear in 1982 when officials at the DHSS broke from the longstanding reliance on scientific and medical expertise and prioritised ‘an outside chairman’ for their public inquiry into IVF and embryo experiments. After a brief discussion about possible chairs, politicians chose the moral philosopher Mary Warnock to chair an inquiry in which, for the first time, individuals from other professions outnumbered doctors and scientists. Warnock

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

representatives from several professions. The resulting Nuffield Council on Bioethics embodied the belief that external oversight was vital to maintaining public confidence in biomedical research. Its establishment bolstered media support for outside involvement with medicine and science, leading the Guardian to claim that there was ‘something of an ethics industry springing up’.3 But while council members believed that their independence from government secured public trust and prevented political interference, it also ensured that their advice carried little influence

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

render them accountable to their end-users. It is no coincidence that bioethics emerged as a recognised approach in Britain once the Conservatives promoted external oversight as a way of ensuring public accountability and consumer choice. This analysis provides a framework for understanding the broad context in which British bioethics emerged and operated, connecting with major themes in contemporary history, such as declining trust in professions among neo-liberal politicians and the rise of measures designed to enforce public accountability, which Michael Power has

in The making of British bioethics
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outside involvement for specific reasons, such as empowering patients, introducing American forms of oversight and applying philosophy to practical affairs. Their public rhetoric was not simply a reaction to growing calls for external involvement but was fundamentally constitutive of it, which shows how these public figures generated and helped perpetuate the demand for bioethics, and played a major role in their own transformation into ‘ethics experts’. At the same time, this changing context also led prominent doctors and journals to accept calls for external

in The making of British bioethics

or the most high-profile American figure to endorse outside involvement. During 1968, for instance, the senator and former vice-president Walter Mondale responded to public discussion of organ transplants and genetic research by calling for a national Commission on Health and Society, which would act as a forum where laypeople and representatives of several professions could debate ‘the fundamental ethical and legal questions’ raised by biomedical research.134 Mondale argued that external oversight was necessary because the public were consumers with a stake in

in The making of British bioethics
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and embryo research to chart how philosophers became increasingly involved with bioethics, and how the Conservative government prioritised ‘non-expert’ involvement in public inquiries into science and medicine during the 1980s. I show how Warnock echoed governmental calls for external oversight and, like Kennedy, promoted bioethics as beneficial to doctors and scientists. I also detail how difficulties in formulating an acceptable cut-off for embryo research led Warnock to dismiss claims that bioethics should be a vehicle for ‘moral experts’, and to present it as an

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

closed and many others faced an uncertain future.84 The pressure on philosophy departments was compounded when the government replaced the UGC with a new Universities Funding Council (UFC) in 1988. The government’s enthusiasm for external oversight was reflected in the UFC’s composition, in which academics were outnumbered by outsiders, and particularly businessmen, who shared the Conservative belief that ‘the purpose of higher education was to satisfy the needs of industry’.85 The UFC distributed money on the basis of ‘research assessment exercises’ that judged the

in The making of British bioethics
Open Access (free)
Managing diabetes, managing medicine

California Press, 2005). 15 N. Triggle, ‘Diabetes care depressingly poor, says MPs’, BBC News , 6 November 2012, available at: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20210823 (accessed May 2015). 16 H. Perkins, The Rise of Professional Society: England since 1880 (London: Routledge, 1990). Trust to deal with complex cases remains, but discretion operates within a broader framework of increased external oversight and regulation: J. Evetts, ‘New professionalism and new public management: changes, continuities, and consequences

in Managing diabetes, managing medicine