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Making the Choice, Organ Transfer or Trade: An Analysis of Canadian Values and the Political Economy of Care

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Title: Making the Choice, Organ Transfer or Trade: An Analysis of Canadian Values and the Political Economy of Care
Author: Peters, Amanda
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Sociology
Advisor: Shalla, Vivian
Abstract: This thesis investigates the role of Canadians in the international trade in human organs and the factors influencing patient decision making, assuming that patients make decisions regarding the management of their illness in a complex social, cultural, political and economic nexus. It engages a broad theoretical question of whether Canadians uphold values consistent with a commitment to consumerism, commodifying organs as needed and afforded, or altruism, supportive of voluntary organ donation systems. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with hemodialysis patients and their care givers in a southern Ontario hospital. Based on this analysis, Canadians appear to fall somewhere in the middle of the consumer-altruist divide. The dominant sentiment among participants was that Canadians ought not to be commodified, but the organs of foreign others in places removed from the Canadian value system hold potential, and provide opportunities for participating in a market when the supply of organs falls short of demand.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2888
Date: 2011-07


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