Posted: August 12th, 2013

Student Name: Teresh Forde

Student Identification Number: AC1200975

Course Number and Title: AN310 Cultural Anthropology

Assignment Number and Title: Assignment #8

Date of Submission


            Bioethics refers to the study of contentious ethics because of advances in the field of medicine and biology. Issues of ethical reflection in relation to the accountability of researchers in anthropology created the need for the establishment of the discipline of bioethics. Ethical guidelines in anthropology have been controversial especially the universal standards of anthropology. It relates to issues of research and study in anthropology. Bioethics is therefore an important component in the study of cultural anthropology.

The relationship between anthropology and bioethics is strengthened on cross cultural analysis that primarily scrutinizes the practice, language and application of medical ethics. Cultural anthropology keeps a keen eye on global ethics and tends to global requirements that will sustain human rights particularly in different cultures and situations. Bioethics is engaged in the field of anthropology as a subject of study in research institutions. It also gives focus to the specialized environment of committees and observatories of bioethics. Bioethics is guided by universal ethics while anthropology opts for cultural ethos (specific values and cultures).

Anthropology engages medical ethics through two major areas. Anthropologists focus on the cultural structure of medical morality. This is in the means it is at a similar period universally structured and practiced in association with the cultural situation (Robins, 2011). Culture in this aspect refers to medical culture and the underlying assumptions of the doctor-patient relations, autonomy, individual and medical desires. Anthropologists explore the specifications in medical cultures and moral implications of relations such as those of doctors and patients and link this to the discussion around bioethics.

Bioethics was designed to resolve dilemmas of moral nature derived from tests done on human beings and animals by reaching out to protection, preservation, freedom and dignity. Scientific breakthroughs and advancements such as DNA and many others are introduced to the private sections of the human body with unrecognized limits. Problems with identification and issues of principles of warning have begun to process the conceptual principles of human freedom and dignity towards particular terms such as consent, privacy, biocitizenship and confidentiality. Bioethics now gives recognition to cultural diversity and the fact that it is a foundation of innovation, creativity and exchange (Turner, 2003). These are themes in cultural anthropology. Issues such as right to life and euthanasia are tackled as interdisciplinary issues between the two fields.

Despite the distant conservative attitude of anthropology to codes and ethics in their utopian standard division, a declaration has been established in bioethics. The declaration states that cultural diversity will be recognized in bioethics. This declaration seeks to reconcile the distinctions as it gives premise to moral and ethical systems, to encourage people to accept cultural differences. Bioethics currently opposes impositions and inappropriate experiments and practices which are undertaken at the expense of fundamental freedom and human rights. These are the same principles under which anthropology follows in carrying out studies, analysis and research.


In conclusion, bioethics is a key component in studying anthropology particularly in the field of research. Conservation of dignity and fundamental human rights are among the important issues embarked upon by the interrelated disciplines. Bioethics cannot work in the absence of bureaucratic and predefined categories separate from certain relationships, social discourses and historical elements. Anthropology offers insight on these issues and relates them with bioethics. An innovative pacification between cultural anthropology and bioethics that allows all humanitarian and intellectual resources to be in use benefits the general good of humanity is essential in the study of anthropology.














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