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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

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Symbolic Legislation Theory and Developments in Biolaw

Edited by: Bart Van Klink, Britta van Beers, Lonneke Poort

ISBN13: 9783319333632
Published: September 2016
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Country of Publication: Switzerland
Format: Hardback
Price: £119.99

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This edited volume covers new ground by bringing together perspectives from symbolic legislation theory on the one hand, and from biolaw and bioethics on the other hand. Symbolic legislation has a bad name. It usually refers to instances of legislation which are ineffective and that serve other political and social goals than the goals officially stated. Recently, a more positive notion of symbolic legislation has emerged in legislative theory. From this perspective, symbolic legislation is regarded as a positive alternative to the more traditional, top-down legislative approach. The legislature no longer merely issues commands backed up with severe sanctions, as in instrumental legislation. Instead, lawmakers provide open and aspirational norms that are meant to change behavior not by means of threat, but indirectly, through debate and social interaction. Since the 1990s, biomedical developments have revived discussions on symbolic legislation. One of the reasons is that biomedical legislation touches on deep-rooted, symbolic-cultural representations of the biological aspects of human life. Moreover, as it is often impossible to reach consensus on these controversial questions, legislators have sought alternative ways to develop legal frameworks. Consequently, communicative and interactive approaches to legislation are prominent within the governance of medical biotechnology. The symbolic dimensions of biolaw are often overlooked. Yet, it is clear that the symbolic is at the heart of many legal-political debates on bioethical questions. Since the rise of biomedical technologies, human body materials have acquired a scientific, medical and even commercial value. These new approaches, which radically question existing legal symbolizations of the human body, raise the question whether and how the law should continue to reflect symbolic values and meanings. Moreover, how can we decide what these symbolic values are, given the fact that we live in a pluralistic society?

Preface: New Challenges
1. Introduction: Symbolic Dimensions of Biolaw
Lonneke Poort, Britta van Beers & Bart van Klink
Part I Symbolic Legislation: The Symbolic Quality of Law
2. Symbolic Legislation: An Essentially Political Concept
Bart van Klink
3. The Emerging Interactionist Paradigm and the Ideals of Democracy and Rule of Law
Wibren van der Burg
4. How Law Matters: Sociological Reflections on the Symbolic Dimension of Legislation
Rob Schwitters
5. The Tension between the Functions of Law: Ending Conflict vs. Dynamics
Lonneke Poort
6. Symbolic Legislation and Authority
Oliver W. Lembcke
7. On Legal Symbolism in Symbolic Legislation: A Systems Theoretical Perspective
Jiri Priban
Part II Symbolic Approaches to Biolaw: Biolaw as a Symbolic Order
8. The Law and the Symbolic Value of the Body
Jonathan Herring
9. Revisionist versus Broad Bioethics and Biolaw
Herman De Dijn
10. Bioeconomy, Moral Friction and Symbolic Law
Klaus Hoeyer
11. From Winged Lions to Frozen Embryos, Neomorts and Human-Animal Cybrids: The Functions of Law in the Symbolic Mediation of Biomedical Hybrids
Britta van Beers
12. The Symbolic Meaning of Legal Subjectivity
Dorien Pessers
Part III Legislative Strategies: Regulating Biomedical Developments from a Symbolic Perspective
13. The Natural, the Informational, the Claimable? Human Body Material in US and European Patent Law
Sigrid Sterckx and Julian Cockbain
14. Material uncertainty: Nanomaterials, Regulation and Symbolic Legislation
Robert Lee and Elen Stokes
15. The Democratic Legitimacy of Interactive Legislation of the European Union Concerning Human Embryo Research
Nicolle Zeegers
16. Changing Expectations of Experts: the Symbolic Role of Ethics Committees
Lonneke Poort and Bernice Bovenkerk
17. Law as a Symbolic Order: Some Concluding Remarks
Britta van Beers, Bart van Klink and Lonneke Poort.