Advantages and Disadvantages of Pop-Cultural Artifacts for Exploring Bioethical Issues

  • Sandra ShapshayEmail author


For the past several decades, popular culture, especially feature films and television, has been utilized with increasing frequency in bioethics teaching and reflection. This seems quite fitting, for, in the words of cultural historian and film critic Leo Braudy, even more than standard newspaper articles and other analytical texts, popular culture constitutes a “sounding board or lightning rod for deep-rooted audience concerns” (Braudy L. The genre of nature. In: Browne N (ed) Refiguring American film genres. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 278–309, 1998). Further, many audience concerns in advanced-capitalist societies relate to the promises and perils of science and technology in general and biomedicine in particular. In this essay, I offer an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing popular culture for bioethical reflection and pedagogy, and provide a framework for thinking through the promises and pitfalls of popular culture for researchers, teachers and practitioners of bioethics and biomedicine.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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