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

By Lesley Sharp

In the U.S. this day, the human physique defines a profitable website of reusable components, starting from complete organs to minuscule or even microscopic tissues. even though the scientific practices that allow the move of elements from one physique to a different almost certainly relieve agony 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 overall healthiness and wellbeing and fitness, agony, and demise. 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 wishes surrounding complicated sorts of physique fix. Sharp additionally considers the experimental realm, during which nonhuman species and synthetic units current additional possibilities for restoration and for controversy.

A compelling medical research and social critique, Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies explores the pervasive, and every 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

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More precisely, when body parts are given anonymously, culled from the dead, and then transplanted into ailing patients, involved lay parties may experience an intense longing to trace their exchange and, thus, track down one another. As I will illustrate below, the heavy medical reliance on the donor body as a source of transplantable parts may mean that involved 50 BODY COMMODITIES lay parties, whose members began as strangers, may long to establish bonds of intimacy. ” This second chapter, “Body Commodities,” builds on the material discussed in the first, so I wish to revisit, very briefly, a few key points to underscore the linkages at work.

There are elaborate rituals, too, surrounding the care of rulers’ corpses, whose effluvia are collected and discarded by special retainers who secret them away in sacred forests. Parts that remain—fragments of bone, nails, hair, teeth—are transformed into coveted objects that embody the essence of royal power (Bloch 1971; FeeleyHarnik 1984; Sharp 2000). Organ transfer is unthinkable to Malagasy because it defies cardinal rules surrounding body integrity. Body parts that are shed or removed—ranging from a circumcised boy’s foreskin to a mother’s placenta to the flesh of a deceased ruler—are never simply discarded but, rather, are ingested or buried or hidden where they can be protected by kin or other trustworthy caretakers.

In this process, they are remembered discretely as individual ancestors; only once a person’s name is forgotten are their pulverized remains mixed with those of others. There are elaborate rituals, too, surrounding the care of rulers’ corpses, whose effluvia are collected and discarded by special retainers who secret them away in sacred forests. Parts that remain—fragments of bone, nails, hair, teeth—are transformed into coveted objects that embody the essence of royal power (Bloch 1971; FeeleyHarnik 1984; Sharp 2000).

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