Nov 112013
Schedule and Location: Wednesday, May 28 1:45pm-3:15pm Vallee-499

Primary Session Category: Sociology of Health

Session Code: SoHe5-A
Session Format: Regular (Presentations and Discussion)

Session Description: Drawing on the conference theme of “Borders without Boundaries,” this session invites empirical, analytic or theoretical papers that examine changing body boundaries in the context of contemporary health, life sciences and biotechnologies.  From tissue banking and organ donation in which material “parts” are separated from “wholes” to bioscientific phenomena such as microchimerism in which cells from one person are present in another, social scientists have shown how the assumption of clearly bounded bodies or impermeable body boundaries no longer holds.  The person cannot be thought to map non-problematically and fully onto what is assumed to be a clearly bounded biological body.  The separation of “parts” from “wholes” also raises important questions about new forms of biological values, movements and exchanges giving rise to new concepts and phenomena such as the bioeconomy, biovalue and biocapital.  We seek papers from the sociology of health and illness, science and technology studies and any other fields of sociology that address a range of topics including: changing ideas of personhood/identity/the individual; “extraction,” movement (including trafficking) of people and/or “parts”; the hierarchical valuing of “parts”; stabilization of unstable body boundaries; the ecology/environment of unbounded bodies and “parts”; and governance of unbounded bodies.

Session Organizers:
Jennie Haw, York University, Sociology,
Matthew Strang, York University, Sociology,

Sub-session I: “Opening up” Bodies and Boundaries



1.     Lindsey McKay

Knowing about Altruistic Organ Transplantation

2.     Fiona Webster, Jessica Bytautas, Viji Venkataramanan, Aileen Davis

 It’s not just getting older: Embodiment, Identity and the Experience of Total Joint Replacement Surgery

3.     Aryn Martin

A Sexy History of Traveling Cells

4.     Matthew Strang

Recycle Me: A new ‘sustainable’ recourse surrounding organ donation and bodies?

Full Abstracts


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