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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Genetics, Nature and Society (PGSP11024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionGenomics and genetics are quickly evolving sciences and are important sources of technology development. This course considers their social meaning and significance by focusing on key themes including: genes, genetics and genomics as social constructs; nature and naturalness; health, illness and disability; access to genetic tests; public understanding of science; and legal and governance issues that arise.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate through oral presentations, written work, and other contributions to the lecture discussions and seminars that they:
- understand the key terms, definitions and concepts underpinning our current understanding of the social aspects of genomics and genetics
- show awareness and understanding of case studies and examples where genomics and genetics raise social issues
- are able to integrate empirical knowledge into theoretical frameworks to generate sustained analysis of social aspects of genomics and genetics
- understand of the intersection of scientific, sociological and political issues in the context of human genomics and genetics
- are familiar with the basic elements involved in innovation systems theory
Assessment Information
Assessment will be by short paper (25%) and choice of long essay (75%).
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus The following weekly topics are indicative only and are subject to change.

Week 1 Introduction to Genetics, Nature and Society
Week 2 Genes, Genetics and Genomics
Week 3 Public Understanding of Science
Week 4 Public Engagement and Public Consultation
Week 5 Genetic Testing
Week 6 Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing
Week 7 Genetics, Genomics, Identity and Politics
Week 8 Intellectual Property in Genomics and Genetics
Week 9 Boundaries Between Species
Week 10 Governance of Genomics and Genetics
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list The following readings are indicative only and are subject to change.

Nordmann, A. 2010. A forensics of wishing: technology assessment in the age of technoscience. Poiesis & Praxis: International Journal of Technology Assessment and Ethics of Science. 7 (1-2):5-15.

Stotz, Karola, Paul E. Griffiths, and Rob Knight. 2004. How biologists conceptualize genes: an empirical study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (4):647-673.

Funtowicz, Silvio O., and Jerome R. Ravetz. 1993. Science for the post-normal age. Futures 25 (7):739-755.

Marteau, Theresa M., and John Weinman. 2006. Self-regulation and the behavioural response to DNA risk information: A theoretical analysis and framework for future research. Social Science & Medicine 62 (6):1360-1368.

Janssens, A. Cecile J. W., Marta Gwinn, Linda A. Bradley, Ben A. Oostra, Cornelia M. van Duijn, and Muin J. Khoury. 2008. A Critical Appraisal of the Scientific Basis of Commercial Genomic Profiles Used to Assess Health Risks and Personalize Health Interventions. American Journal of Human Genetics 82 (3):593-599.

Caulfield, Timothy, and Simrat Harry. 2008. Popular Representations of Race: The News Coverage of BiDil. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 36 (3):485-490.

Castle, D., W.B. Phillips, A. Brown, K. Culver, D. Castrataro, T. Bubela, S. Harmon, G. Dutfield, and P. Barclay. 2010. Knowledge management and the contextualisation of intellectual property rights in innovation systems. SCRIPTed 7:32-50.

Brown, Nik. 2009. Beasting the Embryo: The Metrics of Humanness in the Transpecies Embryo Debate. BioSocieties 4 (2-3):147-163.

Gottweiss, H. 2005. Governing genomics in the 21st century: between risk and uncertainty. New Genetics & Society 24:175-194.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf David Castle
Tel: (0131 6)50 2449
Course secretaryMiss Lindsay Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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