Pickersgill, M. (2014) Neuroscience, epigenetics and the intergenerational transmission of social life: exploring expectations and engagements Families, Relationships and Societies 3(3): 481-4

Motivation for inclusion:

This relatively short paper is an excellent introduction to the idea of ‘social biologies’. In it, Pickersgill explores the ‘social turn’ in biology, explaining how findings in the fields of epigenetics and neuroscience have come to blur distinctions between environment and biology, nature and nurture, as well as clouding the often rigorously upheld boundaries between different academic disciplines. Pickersgill explains how UK policy has come to employ ideas, concepts and findings form the social biologies, and discusses how these impact upon individual members of society, raising ethical questions about the uses and abuses of science within policy and practice. In a sense, this paper goes some way towards explaining why the BeGood team – a group with expertise spanning bioethics, psychology, neuroscience, sociology and anthropology – are working within a psychiatry department, based in a hospital. None of us are ‘clinical psychiatrists’, but our interest in the social and ethical dimensions of health and disease provides an important perspective on the valuable clinical work being done in this department.

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