How Ethical Systems Change: Eugenics, the Final Solution, Bioethics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

How Ethical Systems Change: Eugenics, the Final Solution, Bioethics

1st Edition

By Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Julie Beicken


0 pages

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Mandatory sterilization laws enacted in dozens of states coast-to-coast and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court formed the initial pillar for what became the Final Solution. Following WWII, there was renewed interest in a more inclusive view of social worth and the autonomy of the individual. Social movements were launched to secure broad-based revisions in civil and human rights. This book is based on a hugely popular undergraduate course taught at the University of Texas, and is ideal for those interested in science-based policy, the social construction of social worth, social problems, and social movements.

This book is an excerpt from a larger text, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?,

Table of Contents

1. What Lies Ahead 2. An Exclusionary Movement is Born 3. Legal Reform to Eliminate Defectives 4. Redrawing the Boundaries of Protected Life 5. Crystallizing Events and Ethical Principles

About the Authors

Sheldon Ekland-Olson joined The University of Texas at Austin after completing his graduate work at the University of Washington in Seattle and Yale Law School. He is currently the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts. For five years he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and then for eight years as Executive Vice President and Provost of the university. He has authored or co-authored several books and numerous articles on criminal justice, prison reform, and capital punishment. Widely recognized for his commitment to teaching undergraduates, he is the recipient of numerous teaching awards. His current interests are reflected in the book manuscript, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?

Julie Beicken is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include political sociology, social movements, eugenics, the Supreme Court, and reproductive technologies. Julie received her Master's degree in 2009 for her thesis, "Eugenics: An Elite Social Movement." She has published book reviews in Women's Studies International Forum and Critical Mass.

About the Series

Framing 21st Century Social Issues

The goal of this new, unique Series is to offer readable, teachable "thinking frames" on today’s social problems and social issues by leading scholars, all in short 60 page or shorter formats, and available for view on

For instructors teaching a wide range of courses in the social sciences, the Routledge Social Issues Collection now offers the best of both worlds: originally written short texts that provide "overviews" to important social issues as well as teachable excerpts from larger works previously published by Routledge and other presses.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying