The Love Muscle: Commodification of the Heart As the Gift-Of-Life

This paper explores the commodification of the heart within the context of organ donation. The paper demonstrates that the heart is saturated with metaphorical and cultural significance as a sacred symbol, which is being reworked into the ‘gift-of-life’ promotional discourse to appeal to potential donors. The paper considers how such appropriation of meanings is met with ambivalence among potential donors, who continue to embrace the heart as an existential ground for transcendence. Accordingly, the participants in this study raise ethical concerns over the progressive industrialization of the body as they question the extent to which the heart can be commodified while still preserves its cultural and existential significance.


Ai-Ling Lai (2011) ,"The Love Muscle: Commodification of the Heart As the Gift-Of-Life", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 40.


Ai-Ling Lai, University of Leicester, UK


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Alternative Worldviews on Human – Nonhuman Relations: The Turkish Case

N. Alican Mecit, HEC Paris, France
tina m. lowrey, HEC Paris, France

Read More


Gossip: How The Relationship With the Source Shapes the Retransmission of Personal Content

Gaia Giambastiani, Bocconi University, Italy
Andrea Ordanini, Bocconi University, Italy
Joseph Nunes, University of Southern California, USA

Read More


Corporate Social Responsibility and Dishonest Consumer Behavior

In-Hye Kang, University of Maryland, USA
Amna Kirmani, University of Maryland, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.