Recovering the Nation's Body: Cultural Memory, Medicine, and the Politics of Redemption / Edition 1

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"In this provocative ethnography, Hogle reveals how the uses of human tissue and organs as therapeutic agents are intimately related not only to expanding arenas of commodification, but also to the politics of nationalism. A challenge to received wisdom about bodies and persons."-Margaret Lock, author of Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America

"This astonishing portrait of changing understandings of life and death is both profound and revolutionary. While extending classical debates about body parts as gifts and as commodities, it brilliantly transfigures them. Unparalleled in its field, this powerful book redefines the future of medical anthropology."-Sarah Franklin, Reader in Cultural Anthropology, Lancaster University (England)

The body is both a site for medical practice and a source of tools for therapeutic and scientific uses. There are many meanings ascribed to the body that both affect and are affected by numerous cultural, economic, political and legal issues. In order to procure and use body organs and tissues, Linda F. Hogle states, scientists enlist a wide array of cultural assumptions. Nowhere is this more evident than in present-day Germany, where the specter of Nazi medical experimentation still plays a large role in national policies governing treatment of both living and dead bodies and the way these policies are put into practice. In their efforts to distance themselves from the atrocities of the past, German medical practitioners and policy-makers have reformulated ideas of bodily violation. Furthermore, the reunification of East and West Germany has engendered new questions about the relationship between individuals' bodies, science, and the state.

Recovering the Nation's Body is the first book to analyze the actual practices involved in procuring human body parts, and the first to examine how the German past and the unique present-day situation within the European Union are keys to understanding the forms that medical practice takes within various cultural contexts.

Linda F. Hogle is a fellow at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. She has written widely on the anthropology of science and on bioethics and cultural diversity.

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Editorial Reviews

Analyzing the actual practices and the underlying cultural assumptions in procuring human body parts, Hogle (biomedical ethics, Stanford U.) examines how German practice seeks to distance modern doctors from the specter of Nazi medical experimentation, and how reunification has raised new questions about relationships between people's bodies, science, and the state. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813526454
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
1 Introduction: Situating Medical Practices 1
Pt. I German Culture, History, and Boundaries of the Body 19
2 Animation and Regeneration: The Meaning of Death and the Use of Body Materials in History 23
3 Embodying National Identity: National Socialism and the Body 45
4 Culture, Technology, and the Law Define the Body 59
5 Bodies, Sciences, and the State in the New Germany 79
Pt. II Medical Practice and the Politics of Redemption 95
6 Organizing the Procurement and Use of Human Materials 101
7 Local Practice: Coordinators and Surgeons 124
8 Converting Human Materials into Therapeutic Tools 140
9 The Right Therapeutic Tools 161
10 Conclusions: Medicine and the Politics of Redemption 186
App Donation Rates and Public
Opinion about Donation 197
Notes 201
Glossary 217
Bibliography 219
Index 233
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