Chimeras And Hybrids In Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: A Study On The Juridification Of Nascent Life

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This dissertation presents an ethnographic study of the policy construction of animal chimeras and cytoplasmic hybrids in human pluripotent stem cell research by the Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) in Singapore. The principal methodology is in the style of actor-network theory as applied in the field of science and technology studies. A key objective of this research is to understand the relevance of law in the production of epistemic claims on pre-social and social life, and an explication of the mechanisms entailed. This dissertation also proposes a broadening of 'juridification' to mean the co-production of such claims by law, along-side other modalities of power, within a power-complex originally proffered by Michel Foucault as governmentality. Law is defined in terms of legal notions, principles, forms and techniques. At one level, this dissertation examines the ways in which the law has been deployed by the BAC in constituting chimeras and hybrids as placeholders or models of 'Seeing As-If'. At another level, it examines the contribution of law in the scripting of a context or narrative that embeds these placeholders. The narrative or script is encapsulated within institutions and their documents, which are in turn intricately linked by particular relationalities. Contrary to prevailing accounts on legal globalization, this dissertation reports a relationality that is less determinate and more openended among jurisdictions that share a policy position. An implement of law found to be ubiquitous in building relationality is comparative tables. Normative positions thereby established contribute not only to reflexivity (through interpretive sense-making for instance), but also instill a sense of solidarity (and division). Relationality is premised on anticipatory knowledge(s) centered around idioms of precaution and risks, which could be understood as legal forms (or analytics) that direct and justify policy decisions and actions. Contrary to arguments of juridification as socially stifling (à la Gunther Teubner) or falling into irrelevance (from a limited reading of Foucault), this dissertation presents law as enabling and central to our experience of modernity. It also supports a less formalistic conception of law, particularly in the work of increasingly commonplace pseudo-juridical entities like the BAC.

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Juridification; governmentality; bioethics; regulationism; stem cell; comparative law


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Riles, Annelise

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Lasser, Mitchel
Hilgartner, Stephen H

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J.S.D., Law

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Doctor of Science of Law

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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