book reviews, biotechnology
In Biotechnology Unglued, Mehta and his thirteen-member interdisciplinary team, comprising mainly of social scientists using a number of ‘‘case studies’’, explore in nine essays ‘‘how advances in agricultural, medical, and forensic biotechnology may threaten the social cohesiveness of different kinds of communities and at different scales’’. In a way, the project is a successful attempt to underscore the theme of (and imperative for) social accountability of science and bio/technological innovations. This 208-page collection of nine essays in a corresponding number of chapters is a remarkable effort. It is a departure from the traditional concerns regarding biotechnology innovations which, hitherto, emphasized ethics, environmental sustainability, safety, human rights, equity, and global geo-political tensions. These concerns are, however, not completely glossed over. They are implicated in the essayists’ analyses, but not at the expense of the book’s central theme.
Chidi Oguamanam, "Biotechnology Unglued: Science, Society, and Social Cohesion by Michael D. Mehta, ed. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005)" (2005) 4:2 CJLT.