From modern to postmodern medicine: the case of organ transplants

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2015
Bozok, Nihan
This thesis investigates the constituent tendencies of postmodern medicine, concentrating upon the organ transplantation therapy. Adopting a genealogical perspective, as a methodological tool, for reading the current history of medicine, it develops its theoretical framework through Michel Foucault’s discussions on biopolitics and Nikolas Rose’s discussions on molecular biopolitics. This study is based on the assumption that medical knowledges of body, vitality and death are historically fluid and context bounded. Therefore, the medical configuration of recent times operate under the conditions of postmodernity. This thesis explores the medicine peculiar to postmodern times, and presents the unique characteristics of current medicine through by focusing on organ transplantation as a postmodern medical case. As a result, it is argued in this thesis that, there are four prominent ruptures in the field of medicine in the postmodern times. Firstly, postmodern medicine does not imagine the body as something biologically given, contrarily it sees the body as something remouldable. Secondly, postmodern medicine transforms death into an event that is able to be experienced by individuals piece by piece. Thirdly, through operating in the conditions of current global capitalism, postmodern medicine transforms vitality parts into commodities. Fourthly, postmodern medicine gives new lives to the organs circulating without bodies.