Bioethics Blogs

The rise of developmental science: Debates on health and humanity – A Special Issue of Social Science and Medicine by Francis Mckay

Shaping the modern child: Genealogies and ethnographies of developmental science
Dominique P. Béhague, Samuel Lézé

Introductory article. No abstract.

Fertile bodies, immature brains?: A genealogical critique of neuroscientific claims regarding the adolescent brain and of the global fight against adolescent motherhood
Ofra Koffman

This article presents a critique of neuroscientific claims regarding the adolescent brain and the suggestion that adolescent motherhood disrupts the healthy development of the mother and her child. It does so by presenting a genealogical investigation of the conceptualisation of ‘adolescence’ in Western psychology and the emergence of the problematization of ‘adolescent motherhood’. This examination reveals that antecedents to neuroscientific claims regarding adolescent immaturity, impulsivity and instability were articulated by psychologists throughout the first half of the 20th century. However, up until the 1960s there was no problematization of ‘adolescent motherhood’ per se and adolescent mothers were only discussed as part of the concern with ‘unwed mothers’. Exploring the continuities and shifts in assertions regarding adolescence, this article highlights the complex history of some of the notions currently found in neuroscience. In doing so it aims to contribute to a growing body of critical literature questioning the universality of neuroscientific findings.

Developing gender: The medical treatment of transgender young people
Claudia Castañeda

Situating the contemporary medical treatment of transgender young people – children and adolescents – in the longer history of engagement between transgender activists and the medical community, this article analyzes the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care (SOC) concerning the medical treatment of transgender young people. It traces how the SOC both achieves medical treatment for children and adolescents and reinforces a normative gender system by cleaving to a developmental approach.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.