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Should we do whatever science lets us do?

Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh & Blood by Donna DickensonAll That Matters: Bioethics

Bioethics: All That Matters shows how new developments in biotechnology – like genetics, stem cell research and artificial reproduction – arouse both our greatest hopes and our greatest fears. Many people invest the new biotechnology with all the aspirations and faith once accorded to religious salvation. But does everyone benefit equally from scientific progress?

Professor Dickenson argues that although we’ve entered new scientific territory, there’s no need to jettison our existing moral sense. By discussing a range of real-life cases, she equips readers to make up their own minds on these important questions. Good science and good ethics needn’t be contradictory.

This accessible and concise book will appeal to both students and general readers, giving a fascinating taste of bioethics – and what matters most within it.

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What makes you think you own your body?

Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh & Blood by Donna DickensonBody Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh & Blood

It’s been said that we are witnessing nothing less than a new Gold Rush, where the territory is the human body. Human eggs are used in huge numbers for some stem cell technologies—over 2,000 in one recent case.

Roughly one-fifth of all human genes have been patented by biotechnology companies. Women’s tissue is worth more than men’s, but both sexes are vulnerable. The fact is, we don’t own our bodies in law.

Some people may shrug, ‘We live in a consumer society, so what do you expect?’. Others might reply, ‘Yes, we live in a consumer society, which will bring us great medical and scientific progress-- if we just leave well enough alone.’ Both responses are far too simple.

Written for a general audience, Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh and Blood aims to bring these important questions out of commercial secrecy and into public debate.

Listen to Donna Dickenson on Body Shopping >>

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Reviews of Donna's book, Body Shopping:

‘An alarming and illuminating book. The story of how we have allowed private corporations to patent genes, to stockpile human tissue, and in short to make profits out of what many people feel ought to be common goods is a shocking one. No one with any interest at all in medicine and society and how they interact should miss this book, and it should be required reading for every
medical student.’ Philip Pullman

'Dickenson successfully marries anecdote with scientific and legal papers to make her points clearly and effectively...Body Shopping is essential reading for those who work in the medical profession. I defy anyone to read this book with being just a little shocked.'
Ian Anderson, The Lancet

'A thoughtful, intelligent, highly readable work written by someone with impeccable credentials...In the 1960s Rachel Carson's Silent Spring launched the avalanche of the environmental movement. Perhaps Body Shopping will do the same for the body rights campaign.' Fay Weldon, Financial Times

'If there was any doubt whether the human body is a global commodity, Dickenson ably puts it to rest. The book could not be more timely...Dickenson offers a perspective that is courageous and convincing... Body Shopping is ambitious and thoughtful.' Michelle Goodwin, New Scientist

Property in the Body: Feminist PerspectivesProperty in the Body: Feminist Perspectives

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Review of Donna's book, Property in the Body: Feminist Perspectives:

Donna Dickenson has done a brilliant job of bringing sophisticated philosophical analysis together with feminist critique to help us understand the meaning of the ‘body as property’ in the 21st century.  Prof. Dickenson’s book is a gem, of both brilliance and clarity, rare in its ability to traverse the worlds of feminist theory, philosophy, ethics, and cultural anthropology in search of deeper understandings of the liberatory as well as exploitative potential of the concept of the ‘body as property.’ This work of nuance and complexity can help us understand the challenges modern biotechnologies bring to the world of human relationships—in stem cell research, umbilical cord blood banks, genetic patenting, the ‘harvesting’ of eggs, and trafficking in kidneys. Dickenson literally travels the world to such distant places as Tonga to bring us a rethinking of the tired old dichotomies which have dominated discussions of bodily property.  Her book is a stellar example of how feminist theorizing can illuminate universal questions about the human condition--for both men and women.
Cynthia Daniels, Associate Professor, Political Science Dept., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ


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