The ongoing enculturation of stem cells with culturally specific meaning in different global locales is receiving critical anthropological attention. As an anthropological subject and cultural object, stem cells continually rearrange practices that range from scientific discourse to political governance. As a unique and dynamic area of research, stem cell science straddles political, economic, and technological as well as ethical and religious dimensions around the globe. The article examines how cross-cultural differentials in research, development, and clinical application have produced hitherto unseen ethical and moral complexities. The examples range from highly restrictive regimes of control and governance of stem cell research in certain locales to global clinical contexts offering experimental stem cell therapies. The article examines these complex sites of political contestation, ethical variation, knowledge production, and economic calculation under four main conceptual sections: intersections and boundaries, substance and science, local and global, and panics and ethics.

Keyword(s): bioscienceethicsglobalization

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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