Chapter

Beyond the dichotomy of individualism and solidarity: participation in biobank research in Sweden and Norway

Katharina Beier

in Human Tissue Research

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199587551
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725630 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587551.003.0007
Beyond the dichotomy of individualism and solidarity: participation in biobank research in Sweden and Norway

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As biobank research depends on an individual's readiness to donate her bodily material alongside with disposing personal data to scientific enterprises, this chapter focuses on the arguments that are brought forward to encourage individual research contributions. In the analysis of the Swedish and Norwegian biobanks acts, the chapter aims to leave behind the dichotomy of individualism versus solidarity. The Scandinavian regulatory frameworks rather reveal a conjunction of both perspectives: the wish to enable biobank research and thereby serve the common good, and the wish for the protection of individual interests. In order to provide an explanation for this feature, the chapter highlights two concepts that reconcile these contrasting attitudes. Whilst the Swedish welfare state supports a so-called state individualism which rests on a reciprocal relationship between the state and the individual citizen, the Norwegian dugnad tradition strengthens the reciprocal assistance amongst its citizens. Both traditions can be fruitfully applied to the ethics of biobank research.

Keywords: solidarity; individualism; common good; Swedish biobank act; Norwegian biobank act; biobank research ethics; state individualism; dugnad; Swedish welfare state

Chapter.  6507 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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