21A.215 | Spring 2012 | Undergraduate

Disease and Health: Culture, Society, and Ethics


Second Written Assignment

7+ typed pages

Session 16: paper due

Session 18: paper handed back

Session 20: revision due

Write a paper on some feature of biomedicine that has recently changed (during the last 30 years) in a significant way. Part of your analysis should involve the institutional context within which the change occurred/is occurring. You should at least touch on the following questions:

  • What are the causes of the change?
  • Are these causes mostly internal to biomedicine, or external?
  • Who are the actors most involved (both inside and outside of biomedicine)? (Keep in mind that actors can be both individual people and institutions.)
  • What is at stake for those actors most involved in the change?
  • At what sites are the changes occurring (e.g., private practice? medical schools? U.S. Congress?)?
  • What non-medical interests and institutions are involved in this change in a major way?
  • What moral and ethical issues are involved?
  • What major values are involved?
  • What are the likely consequences (the most significant ones) if the change becomes permanent?

One possible way to organize your essay is to analyze how this change is occurring in two countries.

Providing some history of the change is not required but very welcome.

Optional (and to be clearly differentiated from the analysis): your own opinion of this change, at the end of the paper.

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Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments