Legal texts have been with us since the dawn of human history. Beginning in 1953, life too became textual. The discovery of the structure of DNA made it possible to represent the basic matter of life with permutations and combinations of four letters of the alphabet, A, T, C, and G. Since then, the biological and legal conceptions of life have been in constant, mutually constitutive interplay—the former focusing on life’s definition, the latter on life’s entitlements. Reframing Rights argues that this period of transformative change in law and the life sciences should be considered “bioconstitutional.”
Reframing Rights explores the evolving relationship of biology, biotechnology, and law through a series of national and cross-national case studies. Sheila Jasanoff maps out the conceptual territory in a substantive editorial introduction, after which the contributors offer “snapshots” of developments at the frontiers of biotechnology and the law. Chapters examine such topics as national cloning and xenotransplant policies; the politics of stem cell research in Britain, Germany, and Italy; DNA profiling and DNA databases in criminal law; clinical trials in India and the United States; the GM crop controversy in Britain; and precautionary policymaking in the European Union. These cases demonstrate changes of constitutional significance in the relations among human bodies, selves, science, and the state.
About the Editor
Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States and other books and the coeditor of Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2004).
—Douglas A. Kysar, Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law, Yale Law School, and author of Regulating from Nowhere
—Alberto Cambrosio, Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University
—John H. Evans, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego
—Michael Yudell, Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health and coauthor of Welcome to the Genome