The Global Traffic in Human Organs1

  title={The Global Traffic in Human Organs1},
  author={Nancy Scheper‐Hughes},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={191 - 224}
Inspired by Sweetness and Power, in which Sidney Mintz traces the colonial and mercantilist routes of enslaving tastes and artificial needs, this paper maps a late‐20th‐century global trade in bodies, body parts, desires, and invented scarcities. Organ transplant takes place today in a transnational space with surgeons, patients, organ donors, recipients, brokers, and intermediaries—some with criminal connections—following new paths of capital and technology in the global economy. The stakes… 

Commodity Fetishism in Organs Trafficking

This article draws on a five-year, multi-sited transnational research project on the global traffic in human organs, tissues, and body parts from the living as well as from the dead as a misrecognized form of human sacrifice to suggest the ultimate fetish is the idea of `life' as object of manipulation.

Anthropology, organ transplantation and the immune system: resituating commodity and gift exchange.

  • C. Kierans
  • Political Science
    Social science & medicine
  • 2011

Epilogue: Trafficking the Human Body: Late Modern Cannibalism

It is the cannibalistic nature of this trade, in its frequent transgression of moral and ethical limits, which inspires the desire to sensationalize in much of the media coverage with which the authors have become familiar.

Patterning the geographies of organ transplantation: corporeality, generosity and justice

This paper explores the uneven geographies of kidney transplantation in London, arguing that inequalities in access to organ transplants are created through interlocking spatialities of corporeal difference enacted through global movements of populations, national organ transplantation protocols and the internal immunological spaces of the body.

Commodification of Human Tissue

Commodification is an important topic in ethics generally and in bioethics in particular. In ethics, it is prominent in debates about the self, prostitution, slavery, and labor conditions and

Commodified kin: death, mourning, and competing claims on the bodies of organ donors in the United States.

  • L. Sharp
  • Medicine
    American anthropologist
  • 2001
A pronounced disjunction characterizes symbolic constructions of the cadaveric donor body in the United States, where procurement professionals and surviving donor kin vie with one another in their

The circulatory system: blood procurement, AIDS, and the social body in China.

It is argued that public health and social policy solutions require consideration of the symbolic meanings of blood and the body, kin relations, and gift exchange, as well as better screening and blood testing do little to address the underlying cultural reluctance to give blood.

Transplantation medicine, organ-theft cinema and bodily integrity

Transplantation medicine affects the way we experience ourselves as embodied subjects. Human bodies become aggregates of replaceable and exploitable parts, and potential resources for craving others.

Carnal technologies and the double life of the body in Gabon

There is enormous reluctance in the West today to envision the body as a mere organic entity. The reduction of the flesh to reified matter – and its corollary, potential circulation in the market –

Organ economy: organ trafficking in Moldova and Israel

  • S. Lundin
  • Sociology
    Public understanding of science
  • 2012
The article aims to go behind the normative discussions that usually surround organ trafficking, and why this is happening, and what the societal consequences are, is examined through ethnographic fieldwork.



Organ transplantation (re)examined?

Although the transplant community is described as engaged in manipulating ideologies, in fact health care providers, policy makers, and funders are curiously absent from these accounts, there is little doubt that the "demand" for transplant is created by the commercially attractive promise of yet another technique for pushing back the boundary between life and death.

Organ transplantation as a transformative experience: anthropological insights into the restructuring of the self.

  • L. Sharp
  • Sociology
    Medical anthropology quarterly
  • 1995
This transformative process is explored by analyzing professional writings and data generated from ethnographic research in the United States by examining transformed identity as fictionalized and extended biography.

Marketing human organs: The autonomy paradox

It is suggested that marketing approaches for organ procurement are and will be negotiated within cultural parameters constrained by several factors: beliefs about the physical body and personhood, religious traditions, economic conditions, and the availability of technological resources.

Organ wars: the battle for body parts.

The article analyzes altruism and individual rights as the ideological equivalents of immunosuppressant drugs, designed to inhibit cultural rejection of transplantation and its view of the body.

Where it hurts: Indian material for an ethics of organ transplantation.

The author argues that most people who sell their organs in India do so in order to pay already existing debts, and the transaction is only temporarily an exchange of life for life, and most donors are back in debt soon after the operation.

Bodies, death, and pauper funerals.

In a world of this sort, where public standing had become intimately linked with the importance one had earned in the eyes of one's fellow men, no man's reputation could be finally assured until the moment of his death.

Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge

  • V. Shiva
  • Political Science, Sociology
  • 1997

Spare Parts: Organ Replacement in American Society

In Spare Parts , Renee Fox and Judith Swazey have updated us on their continued and lifelong study of the ethical, moral, social, and cultural processes of therapeutic innovation. As with their

Death, Dissection and the Destitute.

In the early nineteenth century, body snatching was rife because the only corpses available for medical study were those of hanged murderers. With the Anatomy Act of 1832, however, the bodies of

Organ replacement therapy: ethics, justice, commerce

Despite the convenient grouping of the book according to substantive topics, the sheer range of approaches makes it difficult for the reader to identify the precise points at which different contributors would agree or disagree.