Assessing the Legitimacy of Stem Cell Research: An Instrumental Valuation Principle Approach
Research on embryonic stem cells has elicited much public and political debate. By promoting the use of the Instrumental Valuation Principle, it is argued here that institutionalists can offer a framework for policy analysis that ensures that the debate on stem cell research is informed by the instrumental use of knowledge and that it is not controlled by upper-level hegemonic powers. Our contention is that the first decade following the initial harvesting of human embryonic stem cells (1998-2008) in the United States was characterized by institutional and policy responses that created a non-deliberative environment that hindered the process of instrumental valuation of stem cell research. This paper concludes that the current conditions of limited corporate involvement are favorable toward a democratic discussion of the legitimacy of stem cell research, but this will require overt challenges to political elites' attempts to control the creation and flow of instrumental knowledge on stem cell research.
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