commodifying bodies

Detail from a publicity poster for the cyberpunkish movie 'Coma' (Crichton 1978), based on the novel of the same name by Robin Cook (1977)

Detail from a publicity poster for the cyberpunkish movie 'Coma' (Crichton 1978), based on the novel of the same name by Robin Cook (1977)

At one level, then, the commodification of the body is a new discourse, linked to the incredible expansion of possibilities through recent advances in biomedicine, transplant surgery, experimental genetic medicine, biotechnology and the science of genomics in tandem with the spread of global capitalism and the consequent speed at which patients, technologies, capital, bodies and organs can now move across the globe. But on another level the commodification of bodies is continuous with earlier discourses on the desire, need and scarcity of human bodies and body parts for religious edification, healing, dissection, recreation and sports, and for medical experimentation and practice. (Scheper-Hughes 2002 [2001]: 3)

COOK, ROBIN. 1977. Coma. New York: Little, Brown & Co.
CRICHTON, MICHAEL. 1978. Coma [motion picture]. Century City: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
SCHEPER-HUGHES, NANCY. 2002 [2001]. “Bodies for sale—whole or in parts,” in Commodifying bodies edited by Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Loïc Wacquant, pp. 1-8. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage.
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