Download Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, by Lesley Sharp PDF

By Lesley Sharp

In the USA this day, the human physique defines a profitable web site of reusable elements, starting from complete organs to minuscule or even microscopic tissues. even supposing the clinical practices that let the move of components from one physique to a different almost certainly relieve affliction 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 refined technological interventions have considerably formed understandings of wellbeing and fitness and overall healthiness, soreness, 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 varieties 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 clinical 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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Extra resources for Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer

Example text

What fascinates me the most is how such memorial projects stand out as bureaucratized forms of mourning. 1). A particularly striking aspect of these events is that they strive to bridge the divide— albeit temporarily and in carefully orchestrated ways—between organ recipients and donor kin. Without such mutual involvement they fail as legitimate, public events. The tone, however, is far from celebratory. Recipients and donor kin are regularly invited (and even expected) to place some earth on the tree’s roots, not unlike in a cemetery burial, when the survivor shovels a bit of soil into the loved one’s grave.

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? One way is to memorialize them. REMEMBERING THE DEAD IN MEDICAL CONTEXTS Commemorating the deaths of those who give of themselves to medical science is a growing trend in the United States. Medical students across the country, for instance, regularly participate in end-of-the-year ceremonies staged in honor of the cadavers that enabled them to study human anatomy.

If we can will our bodies to science, can we—or can our heirs—then claim that we own our bodies, or at the very least, assert rights to how they will be used? Does this mean that our bodies are our own property? If reusable parts can be extracted from our bodies, who holds rightful claims to these? Can or should we hold sway over the body’s parts if they are of value on the open market? Should we be able to exert direct control over how these might be bought, sold, or used? And what are the dominant social sentiments regarding the willingness to be transformed into—or reduced to—a wide assortment of reusable parts?

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