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Accepted Contribution:

Thinking human rights approaches to clinical labor beyond ethical publicity  
Daniela Schuh (University of Vienna)

Long abstract:

In recent decades, advances in biomedicine have facilitated new forms of clinical labor, such as the commodification of organs, oocytes, and reproductive services, as well as participation in clinical trials for financial gain or as a means of accessing medical treatment. This paper examines human rights approaches to clinical labor, noting their tendency to operate within what Lawrence Cohen (1999) has termed "ethical publicity"- a framework that reduces ethical considerations to the moment of transaction between rational actors, eliding contextual conditions. While ethnographers have demonstrated the political and analytic benefits of examining the contextual conditions of clinical labor, focusing on questions of power and inequality, they often did so by ignoring questions of law and ethics altogether.

This paper discusses how co-production helps to analyze how we practice ethics through law, allowing us to move beyond the narrow framework of ethical publicity. Drawing on examples from my fieldwork on civil and human rights debates about surrogacy, I discuss how the insistence on a narrow framework of ethical publicity and the positioning work done within it are deeply entangled with epistemic orders. I argue that understanding the dynamics of their co-production, and the specific cultural and historical experiences that inform this process, can serve as an entry point for practicing law beyond ethical publicity, potentially allowing for a more democratic engagement with civil and human rights.

Combined Format Open Panel P164
STS & ethics: encounters on common ground
  Session 1