Relations between the biological and social sciences have been hotly contested and debated over the years. The uses and abuses of biology, not least to legitimate or naturalize social inequalities and to limit freedoms, have rightly been condemned. All too often, however the style of debate has been reductionist and ultimately unfruitful. As we enter an age in which ultr-Darwinian forms of explanation gather momentum and the bio-tech revolution threatens a 'Brave New World' of possibilities, there is urgent need to re-open the dialogue and rethink these issues in more productive ways.
Debating Biology takes a fresh look at the relationship between biology and society as it is played out in the arena of health and medicine. Bringing together contributions from both biologists and sociologists, the book is divided into five themed sections:
- Theorising Biology draws on a range of critical perspectives to discuss the case or 'bringing back' the biological into sociology.
- Structuring Biology focuses on the interplay between biological and social factors in the 'patterning' of health and illness.
- Embodying Biology examines the relationship between the lived body and the biological body
- Technologizing Biology takes up the multiple relations between biology, science and technology.
- Reclaiming Biology looks at the broader ethical and political agendas.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, this timely volume will appeal to a wide audience within and beyond the social sciences, including students, lecturers and researchers in health and related domains.
'This is a pioneering and timely collection. Biologists and sociologists have long talked past each other - often generating more heat than light. But Debating Biology shows that the disciplines can be combined in exciting and productive ways. Such collaboration is essential if the condition of humans - and other animals - is to be improved' - Peter Dickens, Universities of Cambridge and Essex