New Organs Within Us

9780822348894: Hardback
Release Date: 1st July 2011

9780822349129: Paperback
Release Date: 1st July 2011

11 photographs

Dimensions: 156 x 232

Number of Pages: 264

Series Experimental Futures

Duke University Press Books

New Organs Within Us

Transplants and the Moral Economy

An ethnographic analysis of organ transplantation in Turkey, based on the stories of kidney-transplant patients and physicians in Istanbul.
Hardback / £86.00
Paperback / £21.99

New Organs Within Us is a richly detailed and conceptually innovative ethnographic analysis of organ transplantation in Turkey. Drawing on the moving stories of kidney-transplant patients and physicians in Istanbul, Aslihan Sanal examines how imported biotechnologies are made meaningful and acceptable not only to patients and doctors, but also to the patients’ families and Turkish society more broadly. She argues that the psychological theory of object relations and the Turkish concept of benimseme—the process of accepting something foreign by making it one’s own—help to explain both the rituals that physicians perform to make organ transplantation viable in Turkey and the psychic transformations experienced by patients who suffer renal failure and undergo dialysis and organ transplantation. Soon after beginning dialysis, patients are told that transplantable kidneys are in short supply; they should look for an organ donor. Poorer patients add their names to the state-run organ share lists. Wealthier patients pay for organs and surgeries, often in foreign countries such as India, Russia, or Iraq. Sanal links Turkey’s expanding trade in illegal organs to patients’ desires to be free from dialysis machines, physicians’ qualms about declaring brain-death, and media-hyped rumors of a criminal organ mafia, as well as to the country’s political instability, the privatization of its hospitals, and its position as a hub in the global market for organs.

Prologue. The Accurate Nature of Things xi
Introduction. What Makes the World Our Own 1
The Book 6
In the Field 7
Part One. The Desirable 15
Half a Human 15
From the Earth, Through the Quake 21
Against the Tide 26
Traveling to the West and the East 30
Within the Experiment 36
Close to Death 41
Internal Objects 44
Words of Life 46
The Biopolis 50
East of "Reason," West of "Eternal Life" 54
Regulating Human Affairs, Fears, Emotions 63
The Economy of Human Flesh and Bones 85
The Biopolis's Vocations 95
Twice Inert, Lifeless, and Life-less 108
Part Two. The Impossible 111
Spaces of Death 111
The Pool of the Dead 118
Mehmed 122
Insanity 128
Kadavra 130
Beyond the Mirror 134
Dissection and Disenchantment 140
Burial 143
Rites of Diffusion 146
Reburial 150
Suicide 153
Dying Metaphors 160
Sacrifice 165
The Possible 175
Conclusion. New Life 179
Epistemic Passages 180
Benimseme 191
Acknowledgments 197
Notes 201
Bibliography 221
Index 233

Aslihan Sanal is a cultural anthropologist who focuses on science and medical technology. She received her PhD from MIT in 2005, and is currently working as an independent scholar. This is her first book.

New Organs Within Us is a tour de force. A brave, nuanced, and caring journey into the lives of transplant patients and the new worlds of meaning they tentatively inhabit. Soulfully written, the book changes the way we think about inner life and well-being, technology and human agency, and the impact of the global biomedical enterprise on local health systems. Social scientists and medical practitioners will have to reckon with this exceptional analysis for years to come.”—João Biehl, author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment and Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival

“I learned a great deal from this brilliant book. There is nothing else like it in the ethnographic literature on comparative high-tech medicine. Aslihan Sanal reaches far beyond the story of transplant patients and the organ trade in Turkey, taking in global flows of knowledge and ethics around brain-death, organ donation, and standards of care, as well as the worldwide organ trade, in which organs are exchanged legally and on the black market.”—Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, Professor of Social Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

“New Organs within Us: Transplants and the Moral Economy is a richly ethnographic and soulfully written book that plunges its audience into the world of transplant patients and physicians…. The book is an important contribution to the burgeoning field of organ transplant.”

Monir Moniruzzaman
American Ethnologist

New Organs within Us is an important contribution to the ?elds of science and technology studies and the anthropology of health and illness.”

Aysecan Terzioglu
American Anthropologist

“This is a brilliant book about organ transplantation in Turkey, not only as a journey into the experiences of patients, donors, and relatives of the decease, but also as a political-economy engagement that sheds light on how coping mechanisms are segregated between the poor and the rich. I learned a great deal from this book, and would like to recommend it to students of social sciences, social medicine, and political economy in Turkey.”

Fikret Adaman
Turkish Studies

"Sensitively written and deeply insightful, Aslihan Sanal’s ethnography of kidney transplantation in Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s is an intimate stitching of life histories, national and institutional narratives, and shifting meanings of life, death, and the body."

Elizabeth DeLuca