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European Law and New Health Technologies$
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Mark L Flear, Anne-Maree Farrell, Tamara K Hervey, and Thérèse Murphy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659210.001.0001

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Taking Technology Seriously: STS as a Human Rights Method

Taking Technology Seriously: STS as a Human Rights Method

(p.284) (p.285) 13 Taking Technology Seriously: STS as a Human Rights Method
European Law and New Health Technologies

Thérèse Murphy

Gearóid Ó Cuinn

Oxford University Press

Science and technology studies (STS) is a relatively young academic field that has developed from the 1970s onwards. Today it encompasses a range of scholarly perspectives and, as a result, a range of methods and organizing ideas — including both Sheila Jasanoff's empirical comparative work around concepts such as co-production, sociotechnical imaginaries, and bioconstitutionalism, and Bruno Latour's actor-network theory. This chapter analyzes STS as a human rights method. It takes two new-health-technology cases from the European Court of Human Rights, and sets about reading them in two different ways — in one particular law way, and in the style of STS. It argues that reading cases with STS was surprisingly enabling. Critics argue that human rights lawyers spend too much time on rights as law, that they have cabined rights in a ‘juridical cage’. Other critics argue that both lawyer and non-lawyer alike spend too much time on rights; that even those who oppose rights engage in rights talk by seeking to draw boundaries between what is and what is not a legally-protected right. Reading the two cases with STS brings a fresh perspective to rights-as-law talk along with freedom from the standard-fare of law and limits.

Keywords:   science and technology studies, human rights, case law, new health technology

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