Ethical research – the long and bumpy road from shirked to shared

Ethical research – the long and bumpy road from shirked to shared

From all too scarce, to professionalized, the ethics of research is now everybody’s business, argues Sarah Franklin in the sixth essay in a series on how the past 150 years have shaped science, marking Nature’s anniversary. From all too scarce, to professionalized, the ethics of research is now everybody’s business, argues Sarah Franklin.

The typological approach to administration was normalized through what has been called the “prism of heritability” by the sociologist Troy Duster, now at the University of California, Berkeley. That had the effect of linking together the pathologization of mental illness, homosexuality, criminality, poverty, ethnicity and race into a discourse of ‘rational’ management that became mainstream.

In other words, the principles of the eugenics movement are part of contemporary society’s DNA. Across national and global policies affecting everything from health care, fertility and incarceration to border control, education and regional development, the goal of shaping the population through selective pressures — such as creating a “hostile environment” for immigrants — is alive and well.

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