Sociology Department Staff
Publication details for Professor Sarah BanksBanks, S., Scully, J.L. & Shakespeare, T. (2006). Ordinary ethics: lay people's deliberations on social sex selection. New Genetics and Society 25(3): 289-303.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1463-6778, 1469-9915
- DOI: 10.1080/14636770601032890
- Keywords: ethics, sex selection, lay people
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
This article summarises the results of a research project that used a scenario about sex selection of embryos for social reasons as a basis for discussion groups with lay people. The aim of the research was to examine the processes by which non-professionals make ethical evaluations in relation to a contested area in medical genetics. We note in particular the role played in the discussions by expressions of instinct; making distinctions; rational argument; reference to principles; use of personal experience; analogies and examples; slippery slope arguments and meta-reflections. The implications for developing processes of public consultation and debate are also considered.
Bazeley, P. & Richards, L. (2000) The NVivo Qualitative Project Book (London: Sage).
Benagiano, G. & Bianchi, P. (1999) Sex preselection: an aid to couples or threat to humanity,
Human Reproduction, 14(4), pp. 868–70.
Berkowitz, J. & Snyder, J. (1998) Racism and sexism in medically assisted conception, Bioethics,
12(1), pp. 25–44.
Boseley, S. (2003) Mother pregnant with girls after IVF sex-selection, The Guardian, 26 June.
Colby, A. (2000) The place of moral interpretation and habit in moral development, Human
Development, 43, pp. 161–4
Davidson, P. & Youniss, J. (1991) Which comes first, morality or identity? In Kurtines, W.M. &
Gewirta, J.L. (eds) Handbook of Moral Behavior and Development, Volume 1: Theory,
pp. 105–22 (Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).
Davidson, P. & Youniss, J. (1995) Moral development and social construction. In Kurtines,W.M. &
Gewirtz, J.L. (eds) Moral Development: An Introduction, pp. 289–310 (Boston: Allyn & Bacon).
Davison, A., Barns, I. & Schibeci, R. (1997) Problematic publics: a critical review of surveys of
public attitudes to biotechnology, Science, Technology and Human Values, 22(3), pp. 317–48.
Ford, N. (2002) The Prenatal Person: Ethics from Conception to Birth (Oxford: Blackwell).
Gibbard, A. (1990) Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgement (Oxford: Oxford
Gibbs, G. (2002) Qualitative Data Analysis: Explorations with NVivo (Buckingham: Open University
Haidt, J. (2001) The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral
judgement, Psychological Review, 108(4), pp. 814–34.
Harris, J. (2005a) No sex selection please, we’re British, Journal of Medical Ethics, 31, pp. 286–88.
Harris, J. (2005b) Sex selection and regulated hatred, Journal of Medical Ethics, 31, pp. 291–4.
Henn, W. (2000) Consumerism in prenatal diagnosis: a challenge for ethical guidelines, Journal of
Medical Ethics, 26, pp. 444–6.
House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology (2005) Report on Human Technologies
and the Law (London: The Stationery Office).
Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (2002) Sex Selection: Choice and Responsibility in
Human Reproduction (London: HFEA).
Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (2003) Sex Selection: Options for Regulation
Human Genetics Commission (2001) Public Attitudes to Human Genetic Information: People’s Panel
Quantitative Study conducted for HGC by MORI, Oct–Dec 2000 (London: HGC).
Human Genetics Commission (2004) Choosing the Future: Genetics and Reproductive Decision Making
Institute of Ideas (2002) Designer Babies: Where should we Draw the Line (London: Hodder and
Irwin, A. (2001) Constructing the scientific citizen: science and democracy in the biosciences, Public
Understanding of Science, 10, pp. 1–18.
Irwin, A. & Wynne, B. (1996) Misunderstanding Science? The Public Reconstruction of Science and
Technology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Jonsen, A. & Toulmin, S. (1988) The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning (Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press).
Kerr, A., Cunningham-Burley, S. & Amos, A. (1998) The new genetics and health: mobilising lay
expertise, Public Understanding of Science, 7, pp. 41–60.
Kerr, A. & Shakespeare, T. (2002) Genetic Politics: From Eugenics to Genome (Cheltenham: New
Kohlberg, L. (1969) Stage and sequence: the cognitive-developmental approach to socialisation. In
Goslin, D. (ed) Handbook of Socialisation Theory and Research, pp. 347–480 (Chicago, IL: Rand
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999) Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to
Western Thought (New York: Basic Books).
Lloyd, I. (2000) The tyranny of the L-shaped curve, Science and Public Affairs, February, pp. 14–15.
Michie, S. et al. (1995) A comparison of public and professionals’ attitudes towards genetic
developments, Public Understanding of Science, 4, pp. 243–53.
Miller, S. (2001) Public understanding of science at the crossroads, Public Understanding of Science,
10, pp. 115–20.
Pennings, G. (1996) Family balancing as a morally acceptable application of sex selection, Human
Reproduction, 11(11), pp. 2339–43.
Rapp, R. (2000) Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amnio-centesis in America
(New York: Routledge).
Rawls, J. (1999) A Theory of Justice (revised edition) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Revill, J. (2003) ‘No’ to choosing your baby’s sex, The Observer, 9 November.
Rhodes, R. (2001) Ethical issues in selecting embryos, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,
943, pp. 360–7.
Richards, M. (1996) Lay and professional knowledge of genetics and inheritance, Public Understanding
of Science, 5, pp. 217–30.
Ridley, A. (1998) Beginning Bioethics (New York: St Martins’s Publishers).
Savulescu, J. (1999) Sex selection: the case for, Medical Journal of Australia, 171, pp. 373–5.
Shakespeare, T., Scully, J.L., & Banks, S. (forthcoming) Gift not commodity? Deliberating and
regulating social sex selection, Sociology of Health & Illness.
Stein, E. (1996) Without Good Reason (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and
Techniques (London: Sage).
Tappan, M. (1997) Language, culture, and moral development: a Vygotskian perspective,
Developmental Review, 17, pp. 78–100.
Toulmin, S. (2001) Return to Reason (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Turiel, E. (1983) The Development of Social Knowledge: Morality and Convention (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press).
Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1986) Rational choice and the framing of decisions, Journal of
Business, 59, pp. 251–78.
Warren, M. (1999) Sex selection: individual choice or cultural coercion. In Kuhse, H. & Singer, P.
(eds) Bioethics: An Anthology, pp. 137–42 (Oxford: Blackwell).
Wellcome Trust (1998) Public Perspectives on Human Cloning (London: Wellcome Trust).
Wertsch, J. (1989) A sociocultural approach to mind. In Damon, W. (ed) Child Development Today
and Tomorrow (San Francisco: Jossey Bass).
Wertsch, J. (1991) Voices of the Mind: A Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Action, pp. 14–33
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).