October 18, 2006

Lesley A. Sharp's Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies

Medical anthropologist Lesley A. Sharp has recently released a book that should be of interest to the readers of this blog. It's called Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer. Sharp is professor of anthropology at Barnard College and associate professor of anthropology and Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

In the book she examines how medical practices that enable the transfer of parts from one body to another not only relieve suffering and extend lives but "have also irrevocably altered perceptions of the cultural values assigned to the body."
Organ transfer is rich terrain to investigate-especially in the American context, where sophisticated technological interventions have significantly shaped understandings of health and well-being, suffering, and death. In "Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies," Lesley Sharp probes the ideological assumptions underlying the transfer of body parts, the social significance of donors' deaths, and the medico-scientific desires surrounding complex forms of body repair. Sharp also considers the experimental realm, in which nonhuman species and artificial devices present further opportunities for recovery and for controversy.
You can read more about this book here.

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