1st Edition

The Generosity of the Dead
A Sociology of Organ Procurement in France

ISBN 9781138260085
Published November 29, 2016 by Routledge
202 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

There has been a general assumption in the international debate surrounding organ procurement that Presumed Consent (opting-out) systems produce better results than Express Consent (opting-in) systems. This study uses the French case to challenge this widely held assumption and argues that the French presumed consent systems coexist with patterns of behaviour that in practice do not mobilize the law. It explores four key areas to current research in socio-legal studies focussing on the state and nature of social solidarity, social engineering and the changing nature of the citizen-state relations, state intervention in the event of death and discretion in use of corpses and recent modifications of the status of medical professionals as figures of authority and agents of state policy. Using material based on interviews with medical professionals, this title will be a valuable resource for researchers, academics, policy-makers and practitioners with an interest in this complex and topical subject.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Law as Policy: Organ transplantation: from 'an eternally hopeless dream' to the management of scarce resources; Law as tool for enhancing social change: from faith to disenchantment. Part II Organ Retrieval in Hospitals: Walking on Thin Ice: From heterogeneity to normalization; The 'living cadaver'; Unpredictable situations; Whose gift ? Part III Law and Policy: The regulation of generosity by the state; The law as policy; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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Dr Graciela Nowenstein is Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Legal Theory, University of Groningen


'This is an important contribution to the sociology of law, affording a powerful illustration of the general thesis that whether a law "works" as intended depends in the first place on how it is received and interpreted by those on the "shop floor" where the behaviour to be regulated takes place. No reader will come away still believing that the legal regime in force and general statistics on procurement rates tell one much about what is actually going on.' John Griffiths, University of Groningen, The Netherlands 'This interdisciplinary study provides rich sociological material grounded on a solid and convincing theoretical framework. It will be a major reference for all those who are interested in the interplay between law and science.' Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, France ’Nowenstein’s book enriches our understanding of organ procurement practice and policy with empirically grounded theoretical insights. In debates about opting-out systems of organ donation this book can nourish the hesitations that up till now are often labelled as irrational and incoherent. Beyond the field of organ transplantation the book offers valuable insights about relations between laws and the practices that laws aim to regulate.’ Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy