Recipients of cadaver organs, like those with organs from living relatives, often express the sentiment that one can acquire the donor’s emotional, moral, or physical characteristics. Such qualities can be elaborate and imaginative, especially when the donor was an anonymous stranger. Some patients live in fear of the independent or animate qualities of the new organs.
(Sharp, 1995: 372)
This first chapter aims to offer an introduction to the stories told by organtransplant recipients that relate to how they experienced a subjectivity
Using a range of social science methods and drawing on the sociology of the body, biomedicine and technology, Haddow invites readers of ‘Embodiment and everyday cyborgs’ to consider whether they might prefer organs from other humans or non-human animals (known as xenotransplantation), or implantable ‘cybernetic’ technologies to replace their own? In discovering that individuals have a very clear preference for human organs but not for the non-human, Haddow suggests that the inside of our bodies may be more important to our sense of identity than may have previously been thought. Whereas organs from other (once) living bodies can contaminate the body of the recipient (simultaneously altering subjectivity so they inherit traits e.g. gender), cybernetic technology is acclimatised to and becomes part of the body and subjectivity. In organ transplantation the organ has the potential to alter subjectivity – whereas with cybernetic technology it does not alter identity but is incorporated into existing subjectivity. Technologies are clean from previous organic fleshy associations and although they may malfunction or cause infection, they do not alter identity in the way that an organ might. Yet, we are arguably creating a 21st-century identity crisis through an increasing reliance on cybernetic technologies such as implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) creating new forms of ‘un-health’ and a new category of patient called ‘everyday cyborgs’ who have to develop strategies to incorporate device alienation as well as reinserting human agency over ICD activation.
Animal, mechanical and me: Technologies that alter subjectivity
In the UK, the present organtransplantation rate from deceased human donors does not meet the demand. This is a trend even in countries like Spain with comparatively high donation rates and an efficient procurement system. Improving transplantation rates by changes to the procurement system may be limited by the availability of living or deceased human donors. Organtransplantation has been and always will be a victim of its own success. The more successful transplantation procedures have become, the more the actual number of organs that can be transplanted
New frontiers in surgery: the case of
uterus and penis transplantation1
Gennaro Selvaggi and Sean Aas
Various types of organtransplantations are now considered standard
procedures: heart and liver transplants lengthen lives; kidney transplants
also do so, as well as improving quality of life by reducing or eliminating
the need for dialysis. The transplantation of faces and limbs, a more novel
set of techniques, improves quality of life without necessarily lengthening
or ‘saving’ lives. An even more recent development is uterus and penis
researching the lived forms of embodiment through the biomedical practices of organtransplantation, xenotransplantation and cyborgisation, I demonstrate how the experience of embodiment is based on a subjectivity intimately tied to an individual’s body. However, there is no paradox in experiencing being a body or having a body as embodiment is ambiguous. I began with following a philosophical path, bringing Descartes’ Cartesian Dualism which implies an individual ‘has a body’ in the same way that they might have a car into conversation with Merleau-Ponty’s ‘being a body
The opening quote from the Czech folk story tells how eyes transplanted from different species have varying effects on the recipient, that is, ‘eyes from birds’ gave visions of the sky; ‘eyes from fish’ offer perspectives of the sea. As outlined in the last chapter, the reality may be as strange as it is in folk stories. Narratives have persisted since the first organtransplantation procedure conducted in the late 1960s about subjectivity alterations connected with the creation of new hybrid human bodies. It was not my intention to evaluate the claims of
This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s
science’, he outlined growing support for the
view that death occurred when destruction of the brain stem caused
irreversible coma and dependence on a ventilator, as an ad hoc committee from Harvard had proposed in a 1968 report.27 Kennedy
claimed that in order to avoid ‘the impression of haste by overzealous surgeons’ if the concept were adopted, two sets of doctors
should employ a battery of standard tests to determine ‘brain death’
and the consent of relatives should always be sought for organtransplants.28 He also argued that doctors should not support
of Fire in a Foreign Land: New and Collected
Poems from Two Languages. Translated by Edith Grossman. Durham,
NC: Duke University Press, 2002: 25.
56 Margrit Shildrick, Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the
Vulnerable Self. London: Sage, 2002.
57 Caitlin Jay, ‘OrganTransplants: A Change of Heart in More Ways Than
One?’ Scentific Scribbles: Blog: University of Melbourne, 15 October
58 Noëlle Châtelet, Le baiser d’Isabelle: L
(once) living beings, as I concluded in the previous chapter . Implanting devices avoids the subjectivity alterations that organic parts may cause the recipient. Mechanical parts have no association with the once living and are not contaminated by them, and cannot in turn, therefore, contaminate the recipient. Whereas organtransplants can cause episodes of rejection, implantable devices are associated with malfunction and infection. In this chapter and the following Chapter 4 , I take a closer look at the issues that inserting machines into the body can cause their