No Longer “Handmaiden”: The Role of Social and Sociological Theory in Bioethics

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Whether sociology should be part of bioethics has been extensively debated and critiqued. Feminist bioethics has long recognized the role of empirical work in bioethical inquiry; however, much feminist work in bioethics has been sidelined due to critiques of the role of social and sociological theory in bioethics research. In this essay, I examine how sociology plays a much deeper role in bioethical inquiry beyond the contribution of empirical methods. Building on these approaches, I show, through a case study, how social and sociological theory play as vital a role in conducting comprehensive bioethical inquiry as sociological methods and methodology, and thus should no longer be sidelined in empirical bioethics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-49
JournalInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2017


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