Read e-book online Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, PDF

By Lesley Sharp

ISBN-10: 0231138393

ISBN-13: 9780231138390

In the us this day, the human physique defines a profitable web site of reusable components, starting from entire organs to minuscule or even microscopic tissues. even if the clinical practices that allow the move of elements from one physique to a different probably relieve pain and expand lives, they've got additionally irrevocably altered perceptions of the cultural values assigned to the physique.

Organ move is wealthy terrain to enquire& mdash;especially within the American context, the place subtle technological interventions have considerably formed understandings of well-being and health, discomfort, and loss of life. In Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies, Lesley Sharp probes the ideological assumptions underlying the move of physique elements, the social importance of donors' deaths, and the medico-scientific wants surrounding complicated kinds of physique fix. Sharp additionally considers the experimental realm, within which nonhuman species and synthetic units current extra possibilities for restoration and for controversy.

A compelling medical research and social critique, Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies explores the pervasive, and now and then pernicious, practices shaping American biomedicine within the twenty-first century.

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Additional resources for Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer

Example text

Even if one could thank surviving kin, how could one ever hope to offer something of similar value in return? The fact that long-term use of immunosuppressant drugs excludes transplant recipients as future organ donors further complicates the picture. This horrible paradox—the inability of recipients to repay such profound acts of kindness—is what sociologists Renée Fox and Judith Swazey have referred to as the “tyranny of the gift” (Fox and Swazey 1992). How, then, do we give thanks for so extraordinary a gift from the dead?

As they seek out and find one another, donor kin and organ recipients stake out new territory in the realm of organ transfer, where bonds of intimacy are forged as seemingly natural responses to the highly unnatural medical practices so central to transplantation’s success in America. TWO BODY COMMODITIES The Medical Value of the Human Body and Its Parts MARKETING THE HUMAN BODY “A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing,” wrote Karl Marx in Capital, volume 1 (Marx 1967:163).

In response, I made appointments so that I could interview mediums and, subsequently, their individual spirits. In essence, I spent much of my time over the course of a year interviewing the ancestral dead. The audiences that gathered during the occasion of these Schoff Lectures at Columbia University, in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, might well envision such practices as exotic and strange, as might readers. From the perspective of my friends and associates in Madagascar, however, organ transfer is beyond exotic: the thought of it is horrific.

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Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer by Lesley Sharp


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