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Matching Organs with Donors
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Matching Organs with Donors
Legality and Kinship in Transplants

Marie-Andrée Jacob

232 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2012 | ISBN 9780812244328 | $69.95s | Outside the Americas £56.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Contemporary Ethnography
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"A rich exploration of organ donation in Israel and the United States, based on detailed ethnographic research. Through a wide range of interviewees and observations, Jacob teases out the workings of the formal, informal and sometimes illicit practices that take place within the field, concentrating her scrutiny on the matching of individuals and the exchange of organs through the dual and linked lenses of kinship and legality."—Legal Studies

"An arresting account of how the law expands and contracts, how bureaucratic artifacts are at once adopted and resisted, and not least how one might think about kin relations. The book will appeal to many readerships: for this reader here is where the unexpected lay. Matching Organs with Donors offers a brilliant, compelling and satisfyingly unconventional exploration of that enigma, modern kinship. And it is all done with a wonderfully light touch—a breath of fresh air indeed. The result is a superb example of just how open-minded enquiry can bring new terms into ethical debate and practice."—Marilyn Strathern, Girton College, University of Cambridge

While the traffic in human organs stirs outrage and condemnation, donations of such material are perceived as highly ethical. In reality, the line between illicit trafficking and admirable donation is not so sharply drawn. Those entangled in the legal, social, and commercial dimensions of transplanting organs must reconcile motives, bureaucracy, and medical desperation. Matching Organs with Donors: Legality and Kinship in Transplants examines the tensions between law and practice in the world of organ transplants—and the inventive routes patients may take around the law while going through legal processes.

In this sensitive ethnography, Marie-Andrée Jacob reveals the methods and mindsets of doctors, administrators, gray-sector workers, patients, donors, and sellers in Israel's living kidney transplant bureaus. Matching Organs with Donors describes how suitable matches are identified between donor and recipient using terms borrowed from definitions of kinship. Jacob presents a subtle portrait of the shifting relationships between organ donors/sellers, patients, their brokers, and hospital officials who often accept questionably obtained organs.

Jacob's incisive look at the cultural landscapes of transplantation in Israel has wider implications. Matching Organs with Donors deepens our understanding of the law and management of informed consent, decision-making among hospital professionals, and the shadowy borders between altruism and commerce.

Marie-Andrée Jacob is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Keele University.

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