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Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science

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    Rights statement: © Harmon, S. (2012). Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science. Project Report.

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherProject Report
Commissioning bodyArts and Humanities Research Council
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Through cross-disciplinary investigations and discussions around the governance of brain-banking (BBing), this Project (AH/J011495/1) explored interactions between science and culture, addressing questions pertaining to conceptions of the brain embedded within BB practice, the impacts of these on law, and the legal and cultural traction of the knowledge produced by BBing. This Project found that the brain is salient in legal debates around death and injury compensation, but it is treated like any other tissue/organ when it comes to science regulation. BBs are governed by de jure law and de facto regulation emerging from routinized practice and codes of conduct. Despite resonance of issues and concerns between BBs and other types of biobanks, dialogue about the ethical, legal and cultural aspects and implications of the work in these domains remains limited. More broadly, neurologic knowledge is contributing to the development of ‘neurolaw’ – a discursive realm within which there is often a poverty of understanding of both the scope and limits of neuroscience and BBs, and the practice and meanings of law. Regarding collaboration, this Project shows how the ambiguities and ambivalences that differences between intellectual traditions might produce can be leveraged to animate new interdisciplinary conversations, initiatives, and innovations.

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