Social construction of ethics. Meaning of the informed consent

14th World Congress of Bioethics- Copyright © 2018

FORMAT | Presented paper              

LANGUAGE | English

HOW TO CITE| Frunza, A., & SANDU, Antonio (2018). Social construction of ethics. Meaning of the informed consent. Prezentat în cadrul 14th World Congress of Bioethics, 7-12 Decembrie 2018. Bengaluru, India.

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Ethical standards are the result of a process of social construction – an interpretative agreement between different communicative actors upon accepting certain social practices. The value of the human individual is operationalized through the principle of respect towards the autonomy, and formalized through the obligation to obtain informed consent in medical practice, and in the research on human subjects. We aim to highlight the meaning of the term informed consent in a cultural context different from the western one, namely in Romania – an Eastern-European country. In this cultural area, there is an indifference to formal institutions also from an ethical point of view, a tendency towards a double standard with an informal emphasis. Previous research has shown that physicians use informed consent as a tool to protect against malpractice charges, having an administrative value, rather than being a result of ethical reflection.
The research was conducted on interviews with physicians and patients based on narrative- approach and interpreted through Grounded Theory.
The results partially confirmed the administrative formalization of the use of IC in the autonomy, facing the neglect of the ethical significance of obtaining IC, but also the interpretive drift of the meaning of the concept in the context of pronounced paternalism of the medical model, and the depreciation of the value of autonomy before that of authority.
A theory has been proposed on the limits of the extension of IC practice in other cultural spaces, and an interpretative derivation of the term autonomy according to the local cultural context.


Social construction, ethics, informed consent.