Power and feminist bioethics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Feminist bioethics is particularly well attuned to the question of power, as it relates to health, illness, bodies, and equally alert to mainstream bioethics’ enduring lack of attention to it. To the feminist eye much of the world, its structures, processes and relationships are characterized by power differentials and inequalities. Power operates at various levels: interpersonal, systemic, institutional, cultural, structural and global, and permeates the public and private domains, from state institutions to family structure. Perhaps it is for this reason that power remains elusive, difficult to define, and at times hard to recognize.

The relevance of power, though contested in terms of its scope and strength, remains pivotal if not foundational to feminist theories and practices both academic and activist. This chapter first engages with various approaches to power and the importance of the concept to feminist bioethics analyses. It then explores concepts closely associated with power, namely domination, exploitation and oppression, before engaging characterizations of power-over, power-to and power-with as they relate to various topics in bioethics. The final part of the chapter focuses on intersectional frameworks of power and considered the promises and challenges of anti-racist and transnational feminist bioethics as viewed through the lens of power.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Feminist Bioethics
EditorsWendy A. Rogers, Jackie Leach Scully, Stacy M. Carter, Vikki Entwistle, Catherine Mills
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003016885
ISBN (Print)9780367860998
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Applied Ethics


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