Beyond Categorisation: Refining the Relationship Between Subjects and Objects in Health Research Regulation

35 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by Catriona McMillan

Catriona McMillan

University of Edinburgh School of Law

Edward Dove

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Graeme Laurie

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Emily Postan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Nayha Sethi

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Annie Sorbie

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: January 13, 2020

Abstract

In this article, we argue that the relationship between 'subject' and 'object' is poorly understood in health research regulation (HRR), and that it is a fallacy to suppose that they can operate in separate, fixed silos. By seeking to perpetuate this fallacy HRR risks, among other things, objectifying persons by paying insufficient attention to human subjectivity, and the experiences and interests related to being involved in research.

We deploy the anthropological concept of liminality – concerned with processes of transformation and change over time – in order to emphasise the enduring connectedness between subject and object in these contexts. By these means, we posit that regulatory frameworks based on processual regulation can better recognise and encompass the fluidity and significance of these relationships, and so ground more securely the moral legitimacy and social licence for human health research.

Keywords: subject, object, health research, liminality, health data

Suggested Citation

McMillan, Catriona and Dove, Edward and Laurie, Graeme and Postan, Emily and Sethi, Nayha and Sorbie, Annie, Beyond Categorisation: Refining the Relationship Between Subjects and Objects in Health Research Regulation (January 13, 2020). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2020/01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3518665 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3518665

Catriona McMillan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh School of Law ( email )

Old College South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Edward Dove

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Graeme Laurie

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Emily Postan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Nayha Sethi

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Annie Sorbie

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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