By Yael Hashiloni-Dolev
This booklet provides the findings of a research into the social shaping of reproductive genetics in Germany and Israel. The research finds dramatic adjustments among German and Israeli societies in addressing the query of a existence (un)worthy of residing. an in depth research of the ways in which those societies deal with the stability among the standard and sanctity of lifestyles illuminates controversies over reproductive genetics in an unique and provocative approach.
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Additional info for A Life (Un)Worthy of Living: Reproductive Genetics in Israel and Germany (International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine)
THE EFFECT OF CULTURE Up to this point I have claimed that experts’ understanding of the human body and its “health”, “pathology” or “viability” are dependent upon cultural/historical/ religious/political categories and upon the complex relationship between the fleshlyprivate body and the body politic. However, how can we conceptualize the way in which culture shapes the practices of social agents such as genetic counselors or legislators deciding, for example, about “wrongful life” suits or about the moral and legal status of stem cells?
Having said that, it now remains to ask: what are the dictates of the body politic upon private bodies in Israel and Germany and how do they affect the field of reproductive genetics within both sites? Concerning Germany, Herzog (1998) argues that in contemporary German public discourse, leftists and conservatives alike deploy holocaust images and memories in their political battles as a sledgehammer technique, in which invocation of the past and its crimes and shame became the lingua franca of post-war West German political culture.
This is due to the fact that the rapid development of science exceeds our ability to make moral judgments about the possibilities it offers (Beck, 1992) and because as modern human beings we are all faced with huge ethical and ideological dilemmas, in an era in which our choices must be made in the absence of a widely accepted religious, secular or scientific ethic that can deliver concrete instructions to help us design our future (Beck-Gernsheim, 1996). However, this does not mean that in “advanced liberal” societies the body is finally privatized.