Purloined organs: psychoanalysis of transplant organs as objects of desire

New York City, New York, Verenigde Staten: Palgrave (2019)
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Bioethical discourse on organ donation and transplantation medicine covers a wide range of topics, from informed consent procedures and scarcity issues up to transplant tourism and organ trade. Over the past decades, this discourse evolved into a stream of documents of bewildering proportions, encompassing thousands of books, papers, conferences, blogs, consensus meetings, policy reports, media debates and other outlets. Beneath the manifest level of discourse, however, a more latent dimension can be discerned, revolving around issues of embodiment, the moral status of the human body and the concept of bodily integrity. This publication aims to bring these “deeper” questions to the fore. What is envisioned is a “depth” ethics (the moral equivalent of a depth psychology) focussing on the tensions, conflicts and ambiguities at work in bioethical deliberations on organ transplantation, fuelling the viewpoints articulated on the more manifest levels of discourse. Organ donation reopens the question of the status of the body as something which we have, but at the same time are, and as something which constitutes a whole, while at the same time being a set of replaceable elements or parts.

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Hub Zwart
Erasmus University Rotterdam


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