Biotechnology and the Legal Constitution of the Self: Managing Identity in Science, the Market, and Society

44 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2011

See all articles by Jonathan D. Kahn

Jonathan D. Kahn

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2000

Abstract

This article considers how certain ideas underlying the tort of appropriation may enable use more effectively to deal with the problems presented by a case such Moore v. Regents of the University of California which dealt with property rights of Moore’s spleen cells. First, the author explores how the tort of appropriation of identity opens up new approaches to inform and perhaps supplement principles of property law as a guide to managing genetic information or other materials that seem intimately bound up with a particular human subject. Secondly, the author analyzes how the various opinions produced by the Supreme Court implicitly elaborate a powerful and problematic relation between the spheres of private life, science and the market, such that the science is granted special status and power relative to the other two – or rather, how the Supreme Court effectively exploits the social status of science to expand the reach of the market into the private sphere of control over the body. Finally, the author considers how the Appellate Court’s discussion of appropriation of identity suggests possible new avenues to pursue regarding the legal recognition and management of both individual and group identity.

Keywords: Biotechnology, constitution, tort, Moore v. Regents, spleen, leukemia, property law, body, appropriation, group affiliation, appropriation of identity

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Jonathan D., Biotechnology and the Legal Constitution of the Self: Managing Identity in Science, the Market, and Society (January 1, 2000). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 51, p. 909, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1950304

Jonathan D. Kahn (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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