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On the Omnipresence, Diversity, and Elusiveness of Values in the Life Sciences
Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (ValueS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7206-2046
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Biomedicine – health care and the life sciences – are saturated with values. Valuations of life itself are intermingled with values such as scientific reputation, profitability, fairness, competition, and accessibility of care. Reciprocally, the practices of biomedicine produce values, for instance: public health, the preservation of endangered species, profitability of tamed animals for farming, usability of clinical data, or bodily autonomy.What sets this book apart from many of the dominant theoretical approaches to values (in economics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history) is that we take an interest not primarily in values as given entities, but rather as how they are enacted in practices. This leads us down an analytical route where values are seen as the outcome of work, where they are the result of a wide range of activities. Fairness, to take an example that often has currency in the provision of health care services, is thus seen as a value that is inseparable from the work evoking it. In an effort to chart a “value practices” approach to the concerns raised above, we aim to focus on how values are enacted: in actions, in technical practices, and in practices of valuation. Here we will provide some first parts of an outline for such an approach to the study of values as they are enacted in biomedicine. The exercise is rooted in an ambition to consider “values” as something to be explained and explored rather than as a given entity with explanatory power. In this we will try to account both how peoples’ actions draw on values, and how agents’ actions and reactions come to enact values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105657OAI: diva2:709285
4S 2013, San Diego, 9-12 October
Available from: 2014-04-01 Created: 2014-04-01 Last updated: 2014-04-01

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Lee, Francis
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Technology and Social ChangeFaculty of Arts and Sciences
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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