Domesticating Organ Transplant: Familial Sacrifice and National Aspiration in Mexico
This brief coda looks back to the iconic figure of the self-sacrificial mother with whom the book began in order to look forward to an emerging biopolitics of global health, in which kidney disease now registers as a massive public health problem, one for which living donor organ transplantation is put forward as the most pragmatic solution. In the push to increase kidney transplant rates worldwide, the central questions engaged in this book regarding what kinds of bodies are made more available to transplant’s need for organs—and more subject to its medically mediated forms of salvation—only intensify in scope and scale. Such questions are both intensely personal, a matter of embodied experience and intimate emotion, and deeply political, involving the investment of political, economic, and cultural capital in saving some lives through risking others. Present pressures to grow transplantation—in both poorer and more privileged parts of the world—look likely to lean heavily on the bodies of living donors for some time to come. Within this evolving global context, the notions of bioavailability and biounavailability, of slippery states and ethical domesticity, and of the effects produced by transplant as icon developed throughout this book help to provide analytic purchase on enduring questions about how ailing individual bodies and the wider social body pull on one another, and how medicine draws on the resources of some bodies to save others.