Competitive adaptation: biobanking and bioethical governance in China Medical City

Sleeboom-Faulkner, Margaret (2013) Competitive adaptation: biobanking and bioethical governance in China Medical City. East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal, 7 (1). pp. 125-143. ISSN 1875-2160

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The role of the state in genomic innovation in relation to global life science competition is central to understanding the moral economy of bioethics. This article asks how in China the adoption of research regulation is balanced with global competition in genomics. I argue that “competitive adaptation” plays an important role. The concept refers to a mode of innovation that reworks bioethics in a way that avoids a loss of competitiveness. In contrast with neoliberal views that claim a correlation between the devolution of state responsibilities and an increase in individual choice and responsibilization, I maintain that political strategies, older notions of scientific progress, and nation-state ideologies continue to play major roles, too. In the assessment of China’s collaborative research capacity, China’s political, academic, and social institutional history is largely ignored, and the ability of society to adapt to first-world standards and bioethical institutions to function without major investment is uncritically assumed. Missing in this analytical field is a discussion of the strategic adoption of bioethics, the meaning it acquires in science collaboration, and its relation to both international scientists and local populations. The case study of the Taizhou biobank serves to exemplify competitive adaptation occurring where the application of alien standards is imposed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 12:45
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2016 13:59
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Bionetworking in Asia - A social science approach to international collaboration, informal exchanges, and responsible innovation in the life sciencesG0812EUROPEAN UNION283219
Bionetworking in Asia - International collaboration, exchange, and responsible innovation in the life sciencesG0750ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/I018107/1