Why should we explore the intersection of biomedicine and society? The short answer: because it invites us to reflect on what it means “to live well”.
The term “biomedicine” evokes in many people the sense of a highly technical domain of knowledge and techniques, based on scientific knowledge on how the bodies of human beings function and malfunction. “Society” on the other hand, is often regarded as the way human beings live together (in our case, in present-day Singapore), and the norms, rules and systems developed for doing so. “Living well” is at the heart of both – and it concerns us as individuals, families, and the larger collective.
Many different answers to the question “what it means to live well” are possible and in evidence. A key analytical skill we develop in this module is to identify explicit and implicit ways in which this question is answered in, for example, healthcare policies, health promotion campaigns, care standards and practices, scientific research foci, patient testimonials, and ethical discussions. The ability to link stories, practices, and the politico-economical organization of biomedicine in Singapore to the fundamental question “what it means to live well” will help you develop your own, reasoned perspective on health, care and biomedicine in Singapore.
The primary goal of this seminar, then, is to train you in articulating fundamental themes and choices in a domain of life that affects some of you professionally, and all of us personally. Developing your ability to think in this way will allow you to think biomedicine and Singapore society in a new light, and ultimately lead you to discover new questions, concerns, passions, and possibilities for getting involved in addressing healthcare-related challenges.