Death and chronicity: new perspectives on cadaveric donation
Bob Simpson (Durham University)
Rachel Douglas-Jones (IT University Copenhagen)
Science Site/Engineering E101
Start time:
7 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

A widening repertoire of therapeutic, research and educational uses for human tissue brings narratives of global 'shortage' and questions of how communities might secure the ethical procurement of tissue. How might these developments be shaping how death is conceived?

Long abstract:

The ever-widening repertoire of therapeutic, research and educational uses for human tissue has ushered in narratives of global 'shortage'. Efforts to procure human tissue ethically to meet these needs has stimulated analogue and digital media campaigns by governments, medical services and communities across the world to address this issue. Our contention is that these practices are beginning to shape the ways that death is conceived, given meaning and managed at the level of disposal across a range of different traditions, both religious and secular. Specifically, there is an insertion of the demands of biomedicine into the complex exchanges that every death initiates and the way that these might then unfold over time. Whether it be exhortations to sign up for an organ donor register, complete a living will or pledge one's body to medical science, there is a growing alignment of personal, relational and spiritual moralities and ideas of secondary uses of the body and its parts at death. In this panel we are seeking to attract papers that explore the following question: What are the temporalities implicit in contemporary donation practices? We welcome papers that explore donation practices in different cultural traditions and the ways in which biomedical rhetorics articulate with the diverse ways in which death is given recognition, meaning and significance over and above each individual death.