Human, Medicine and Society at the Orient-Institut Istanbul

New types of medical innovations enable previously unknown interventions into the “nature of human”. Culturally different interpretations and modes of behavior affect the handling of these fundamentally new challenges for society, culture, law, and politics. Genome editing, eugenics programs, modern reproductive technologies, and health apps that analyze our fitness and health data everyday are just some examples of medicine, science, and technology changing various dimensions of individual and social life. As a result of these dynamic changes, questions arise as to how these developments shape socio-technical, socio-cultural, and socio-political processes. For a young and dynamic society like Turkey, these questions are particularly explosive. Dealing with them is thus of particular importance. On 15 May 2015, Dr. Melike Şahinol launched the new research field “Human, Medicine, and Society.” It will focus mainly on the way society in Turkey deals with practices of Human Enhancement through medical innovations and thus understanding the developments in science, technology, and medicine in relation to their social contexts form an STS perspective. With this research field, the Orient-Institut Istanbul broke new ground in Turkey, treating for the first time the current challenges of biotechnology, neurosciences, nano- and information technologies in the medical field. Central to the development of this research field is the close cooperation with the leading German scientific institution in this field, the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). For this purpose, a cooperation agreement has been signed.