Órla O’Donovan
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Governing organ donation
The dead body, the individual and the limits of medicine
in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
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This chapter explores how the efforts to increase the availability of human organs by moving to an institutional arrangement based on presumed consent necessarily extend beyond shaping people's cultural attitude towards organ donation. Transforming the prevailing cultural attitude and habitual behaviour in respect of organ donation also requires subtle but significant shifts in how people imagine the dead body, the individual and her or his responsibilities to others, and the limits of medicine. The chapter considers the debates in light of the ideas of Michel Foucault about the construction and government of the modern individual. Central to Foucault's conceptualisation of governmentality is that the modern sovereign state and the modern autonomous individual, homo economicus, co-determined each other's emergence. Peter Wehling is ambivalent about the emergence of active biological citizenship, which he regards as a new and significant element in contemporary governmental regimes of medicine.

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