The final conference of the EU project “Challenges of Biomedicine: Socio-Cultural Contexts, European Governance and Bioethics” will be held at the University of Vienna, June 14-16, 2007 under the title “Engineering European Bodies: When Biomedical Technologies Challenge European Governance, Bioethics and Identities”
Over the last few decades, biomedical technologies have played a crucial role in re-engineering the human body on multiple levels, as well as in re-defining individual and collective identities. These processes challenge established cultural understandings, the way we govern new technologies as well as bioethical reflection. With the enlargement and integration of the European Union, questions relating to common governance of biomedical technologies including a European bioethics framework, have to be critically addressed both theoretically and empirically. Which roles do socio-cultural differences play and how do they figure in shaping bodies and identities? What are the impacts on civic approaches to technologies, ethical argumentation and visions of governing? How are these differences handled in a common Europe?
To address these issues, this conference builds on a comparative and interdisciplinary European research project “Challenges of Biomedicine”. Going beyond the project it aims to bring together academics from bioethics, science and technology studies, cultural anthropology, medicine as well as policy makers on European and national levels. The goals of the conference are to – discuss empirical work and ethical reflection related to the topic of socio-cultural varieties in re-engineering bodies as well as concepts of choice, agency and identity – investigate the implications of biomedical technologies for the delivery of health care and the public health – debate implications of biomedical technologies for European and national policy arenas – reflect on the methodological challenges of comparative and cross-disciplinary research Plenary lectures addressing the key issues will be alternated by parallel sessions which are meant to bring together genuine empirical and theoretical work carried out in these areas within the project as well as by invited researchers.
Abstracts for individual presentations in the parallel sessions are invited (closing date February 28, 2007). The conference explicitly aims at bringing together research from different disciplinary context such as bioethics, anthropology, science and technology studies.
Presentations should fit the conference topic and relate to one of three topical threads, either on:
(1) the impact of biomedical technologies on identities, concepts of choice and decision making;
(2) the biotechnological shaping of human values and attitudes; or
(3) public participation in and governance of biomedical technologies and the public health systems they are embedded in. Papers addressing cultural comparative and cross-disciplinary work and related methodological challenges, religious and gender issues, as well as reflections on the normative and political implications of the processes described above are explicitly invited.
Presentation proposals should contain title, speaker(s), affiliations and contact details, which of the conference threads it relates to, and an abstract of 300 words. Please use the template file on http://www.univie.ac.at/virusss/workshops as basis for your submission and send it by February 28, 2007, to