PUBLIC ARGUMENT AND THE "HUMAN": RHETORIC, VALUES, AND DIFFERENCE IN THE BIOTECHNOLOGY DEBATE Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Zemlicka, Kurt
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
Abstract
  • The past 50 years have seen rapid advancements in the fields of genetics, robotics, and nanotechnology ¬ so called GRN technologies. In the realm of biomedicine, proposed applications include the capacity to manipulate patients at the genomic level. These manipulations will also alter any genes the patient passes on, permanently changing the genetic makeup of any of the recipient's offspring, their offspring's offspring, and so on. Once these technologies give us the possibility to start tinkering with our own genome, we will be able to, quite literally, reshape the building blocks of humanity, and thus compel us to question and define the essential qualities of the "human." The task of this dissertation is to provide both an examination of how debates over biotechnology in the United States have become enmeshed in positions that stagnate the debate and stifle the possibility for increased public deliberation ¬ a goal all sides agree is necessary given the potential impacts of the technology. By looking at five specific cases ranging from debates over human cloning and reproductive technologies to the sex-verification of Olympic athletes, I analyze the dominant tropes used by both sides to argue for either the total ban or continued development of a given biotechnology. In looking at the governing tropes in each debate, I aim to understand why each side has developed incommensurable positions in an attempt to reformulate how we can deliberate over these technologies in a more pragmatic way.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Lundberg, Christian
  • Blair, Carole
  • Ochoa, Todd
  • Hyde, Michael
  • Grossberg, Lawrence
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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