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Frank Adloff & Larissa Pfaller: Critique in statu nascendi? The Reluctance towards Organ Donation [Abstract]

This article offers a differentiated characterization of those who are uncertain, skeptical, or reluctant in their attitude to organ donation. We explore if and how skepticism about organ donation can be expressed and enacted against the background of moral imperatives in favor of donation. To that end, we take a closer look at one paradigmatic case from our sample and discuss the sense of ‘unease’ experienced with regards to organ donation as a form of critique that finds itself in a major conflict: the moral imperative to help and to ‘save lives’ confronts an unbearable disregard and disrespect for personal integrity and leads to a feeling of trouble and shame. People are often unable to show that the ethical value of the integrity of the person has equivalent value to the rightness of saving lives. This is related to the fact that the pure materiality of the human body is such a dominant theme in the medical discourse that positions that speak of the dignity of the person (and this includes the body as well) beyond the grave are not only marginalized but lack the very vocabulary they need to argue this position. Thus, the article contributes to our understanding of the affective, physical bases for unease and critique.

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