The ‘Living Dead’: an Exploration of the Social Biographies of Donor-Cadavers As Intentional Objects

Ai-Ling Lai, University of Gloucestershire, UK
Janine Dermody, University of Gloucestershire, UK
This paper seeks to advance the burgeoning interest concerning the role of the (material) object in consumer research. The aim of this paper is to ‘recover’ the agentic capability of things, by exploring how the embedded intentionality of objects is enacted through the intersubjective network in which they are situated. We will focus our analysis within the context of organ transplantation to consider the extent to which donor-cadavers can be regarded as intentional objects (what objects do). In particular we will explore the way in which participants trace the ‘social biography’ of machine-ventilated-cadaver, which display an ambiguous intentionality that problematize the status of the body as a marker of subjectivity and a biomedical production of routine cyborg. In so doing, our paper has thematized the agentic capability of objects (donor-cadaver) in enhancing/resisting the meaning-making process surrounding the consumption practice of organ donation.
[ to cite ]:
Ai-Ling Lai and Janine Dermody (2009) ,"The ‘Living Dead’: an Exploration of the Social Biographies of Donor-Cadavers As Intentional Objects", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 177-180.