Conf and CFP: 5th Postgraduate Bioethics Conference

Social Scientific Approaches to Bioethics: Methods and Methodologies

5-7 January 2011, Wellcome Conference Centre, Euston Road, London

Post the empirical turn scholars at work in bioethics have been making continually greater use of social scientific approaches. One the one hand this can be seen as a fulfilment of the promise of bioethics as a truly interdisciplinary area of research, on the other we risk becoming as a recent paper has it “Jack of all trades, master of none” (Clinical Ethics 3(4) 2008).  This conference seeks to go some way to engaging with this issue through offering four masterclasses on bioethics and an area of social scientific research.  These will be focussed on contemporary history; researching publics; sociology; and empirical ethics.  Each of these masterclasses will be prefaced by an established academic giving a presentation on the methodological contours of their approach. We seek postgraduate participants for the proposed masterclasses as well as paper presentations which address the conference theme.

There are also some limited audience member places. Preference may be given to those who address the conference theme and fall within the four areas identified.

There will also be a plenary lecture and some ‘added value’ sessions on academic life.  These will include talks by funders, a session by early career researchers and a dedicated networking event, will also form part of the programme.

Topics for papers may include but are not limited to:

  • Contemporary history/ researching publics/ sociology/ empirical ethics/political economy.
  • Quantitative methods and methodology.
  • Cultural and Political Dimensions of Approaches to Bioethics.
  • The methodological challenge of interdisciplinarity.
  • Social Science in the Humanities.
  • Anthropological Approaches to Bioethics.
  • Bioethical Education and Educating Bioethics.
  • Communicating new approaches to Bioethics.

Proposals for papers not more than 400 words are invited which should be submitted on the conference application form available from our website. The deadline for applications is the 31st of October 2010. Submission is by email to

We are exploring options for the publication of papers given at the conference.  In previous years papers have been published in Clinical Ethics, Bioethics, JME etc.

Plenary Lecture: Prof Søren Holm (Manchester)

Speakers & Masterclass Leaders:

Dr Duncan Wilson (CHSTM, Manchester) Contemporary History

Dr Alexandra Plows (Bangor) Researching Publics.

Prof Alan Cribb (CBAS, KCL) Methodology of Empirical Ethics.

Dr Leigh Turner (University of Minnesota) Sociology.

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