Science, Ethics, and Justice: Reconsiderations and New Directions
The Science, Ethics and Justice Research cluster at HEI began as a cross-university partnership with Professor Jennifer Fishman (Department of Social Medicine and Bioethics Unit, McGill University) to examine the conceptual and methodological contours of employing an ethics versus a justice framework in research and theory in science and technology. The project continues to build interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars working to advance this engagement. Click on the links below to learn more.Funder: NSF/SES #1054024 (2010-2011)
Lead Faculty: Laura Mamo
An NSF-Funded Workshop (April 2011): Science, Ethics, and Justice: Reconsiderations and New Directions
With support from the National Science Foundation, a two-day workshop was held at San Francisco State University in April 2011. Over thirty scholars in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, jurisprudence and other fields came together in a productive dialogue to consider how their research approaches ethics in science and technology through a "justice" lens. Scholars convened to examine relationships among science, knowledge, ethics, and justice across three themes situated at the intersection of science, ethics, and justice:
- Environmental justice (led by Barbara Allen, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech),
- Reproductive justice (led by Adrienne Asch, Director of the Center for Ethics, Yeshiva University), and
- Genomics justice (led by Jennifer E. Reardon, Associate Professor of Sociology, UCSC)
For additional information and a complete list of workshop participants, please see the program. (Link to Science, Ethics and Justice workshop PDF Program)
Professor Julie Sze (American Studies, University of California, Davis) presented her research "De-Normalizing Embodied Toxicity: The Case of Kettleman City" bringing awareness to the social movement efforts by activists in California's central Valley. This research motivated a SFSU MPH graduate student and Health Equity researcher, Vanessa Cardona, to conduct her Master's thesis on popular epidemiology in Kettleman City, CA.
Nanibaa' Garrison (Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University) presented her research examining "Genomic Justice for Indigenous Americans" in the wake of the Havasupi tribe's settlement against the University of Arizona. Her work raises questions about who benefits from genetic research; how to conceptualize group justice versus individual autonomy; and how various experts, including IRB managers, make sense of and implement notions of justice in human subjects research.
Mary Lyndon Shanley (Professor of Political Science, Vasser College) approached the discussion of ethics and justice through a consideration of the global enterprise of surrogacy. Shanley argued that the two main discourses that frame the practice of surrogacy-medical treatment for infertility and procreative autonomy and choice-do not adequately portray what surrogacy entails and as a result, opens possibilities for rethinking ethical engagement and the meaning of justice for women and children.
The program successfully brought together interdisciplinary thinkers who variously address issues of environmental, reproductive, and genomics justice enabled vibrant conversation across disciplinary groups that do not usually find themselves at the same table. The group considered first what "justice" means across these three substantive fields and through various disciplinary lenses and second, how justice frameworks are employed and to what ends. Workshop participants agreed that justice is primarily assumed-a normative approach of defining justice by what seems right or fair. Yet, who gets to define justice (i.e., researchers, participants, courts, policy makers) is still at question. Recent explorations of justice are furthered through the lenses of both procedural and distributive justice, and more recently, that of representative justice (for example, see Schlosberg's Defining Environmental Justice, Shrader-Frechette's Environmental Justice, and additionally, Fraser's Scales of Justice for a feminist perspective). Workshop attendees also agreed that justice frameworks are employed for multiple purposes - from engaging in meaningful participation and collaboration to rhetorical claims-making to mobilize public support.
Special Issue: Entanglements of Science and Justice (edited by Laura Mamo and Jennifer Fishman) March 2013.
Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S)
We partnered with the Science & Justice Working Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz and organized two sessions around the theme of Science and Justice at the 2012 annual meetings of the Society for the Social Studies of Science.
See program here: Sessions at 2012 4S annual meeting in Copenhagen (Oct 2012)