Departing from three metaphors—the body as gift, resource, and commodity—the book explores the contemporary exchange of organs, tissues, and cells. Although the gift is the sanctioned metaphor for donating parts of the body, the underlying perspective from the side of states, authorities, and the medical establishment often seems to be that the body shall be understood as a resource. But medicine, as some of the contributors to this book show, is not sealed off from the market economy. Increasingly, therefore, body parts become commodities on legal as well as illegal markets.
The chapters of the book are arranged in a way that presents, one after the other, the three metaphors of the body, starting with the body as gift, proceeding by way of the body as resource, and ending in the body as commodity. Although all three metaphors as ways of conceptualizing and making use of the human body can be found throughout human history, the present drive of commercialization will increasingly force us to identify and scrutinize the way these metaphors are used. Not only in addressing the fascinating question of what kind of an object (subject) the human body is, but also in trying to decipher what interests lurk behind the use of the metaphors in question when claiming that human bodies, organs, tissues, and cells are gifts, resources or commodities. The ambition of this volume is to address and remedy the need of a hermeneutics not only of depth, but also of suspicion, in the case of organ transplantation and other medical technologies involving the transfer of human tissues and cells.
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola , 2012, 1. , 400 p.