Accepted paper:

UNESCO's Bioethics Workshops: the individuals making Global and Pan-African Narratives meet.


Adeline Neron (IFRIS/IRD)

Paper short abstract:

The United-Nations' interventions include an aim to reinforce bioethical infrastructures. From a research at a crossroad of Social Studies of Science, Anthropology of Globalisation, Post-Colonial Studies and Political Sociology of Bioethics, this paper analyses such multilevel interventions.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with how UNESCO's Bioethics Declarations, Committees and Projects find themselves at a crossroad of global strategies and local negotiations for government and development. This proposal is part of an analysis of social and political dynamics within bioethics' institutionnalisations. For the last decades, circulations of documents, procedures, individuals and ideas have been manufacturing bioethics' principles on human rights and how it aims at norming social, legal and moral stakes of relationships to health, bodies, science and technology. Programs aiming at fighting against inequalities between regions regarding bioethical infrastructures carry presumptions of vertical transfers of knowledge and methods. In-depth and qualitative interviews as well as non-participatory observations at UNESCO's Headquarters and Regional Offices, national Ministries for the case of Senegal and at the last Global Summit of National Ethics and Bioethics Committees (Dakar, March 2018) enlighten the incentives of "reinforcing bioethics capacities of countries" (National Bioethics Committees in Action, UNESCO, 2010). UN-led workshops, conferences and networks of experts allow to identify mechanisms of the constructions of regulation and standardisation of-and-by bioethics: Professional and Governmental capacities are structured by an intensification of the activities of a scientific and administrative epistemic community regarding health and research ethics. The modes of encounters and collaborations of scientists and states representatives promoting certains standards will be discussed regarding the narratives of continuities and ruptures with/from the Northern and Historic referential in implementing bioethics infrastructures in Sub-Saharan Africa.

panel Econ26
The United Nations in Africa, and Africa in the UN: bureaucratic wrangling, translocal negotiations, and the politics of expertise