Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.515057
Title: Consent and the construction of the volunteer : institutional settings of experimental research on human beings in the cold war
Author: Bolton, Talitha
Awarding Body: The University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
This study challenges the primacy of consent in the history of human experimentation and argues that privileging the cultural frameworks adds nuance to our understanding of the construction of the volunteer in the period 1945 to 1970. Historians and bio-ethicists have argued that medical ethics codes have marked out the parameters of using people as subjects in medical scientific research and that the consent of the subjects was fundamental to their status as volunteers. However, the temporality of the creation of medical ethics codes means that they need to be understood within their historical context. That medical ethics codes arose from a specific historical context rather than a concerted and conscious determination to safeguard the well-being of subjects needs to be acknowledged. The British context of human experimentation is under-researched and there has been even less focus on the cultural frameworks within which experiments took place. This study demonstrates, through a close analysis of the Medical Research Council's Common Cold Research Unit (CCRU) and the government's military research facility, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, Porton Down (Porton), that the `volunteer' in human experiments was a subjective entity whose identity was specific to the institution which recruited and made use of the subject. By examining representations of volunteers in the British press, the rhetoric of the government's collectivist agenda becomes evident and this fed into the institutional construction of the volunteer at the CCRU. In contrast, discussions between Porton scientists, staff members, and government officials demonstrate that the use of military personnel in secret chemical warfare experiments was far more complex. Conflicting interests of the military, the government and the scientific imperative affected how the military volunteer was perceived.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.515057  DOI: Not available
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