Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology

2004 Edition
| Editors: Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember

Bioethics

Contemporary Anthropological Approaches
  • Elisa J. Gordon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-29905-X_9
  • 187 Downloads

Introduction: The Importance of Anthropology to Bioethics

Anthropology offers much to the world of bioethics, including theoretical approaches, methods, and practical guidance to health care professionals. Theoretically, anthropological research challenges cultural and social norms about identity, personhood, distinctions between self and other, definitions of life and death, and what it is that makes us human. Our comparative approach enables us to reveal just how moral assumptions and norms are not universal while demonstrating at the same time the cultural basis of moral reasoning. The social sciences also contribute to a view of ethical issues as societal problems, in this way illuminating the cultural processes that constitute ethical concerns (Haimes, 2002). Methodologically, anthropology has helped to “humanize” (Kleinman, 1995a, Kleinman, 1995b) bioethics by using ethnographic methods that enable a thick description of cases which illuminate people’s grounded experiences of...

Keywords

Ethical Dilemma Advance Directive Ethic Consultation Anthropological Research Bioethical Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa J. Gordon

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