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Exploring cadaveric organ donation: a 'mortal embodiment' perspective

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Despite the growing prominence of embodiment within the agenda of consumer research, theorisation of the embodied self has yet to explore the imminent mortality ingrained within the lived body. In this paper, we seek to contribute to this important area by exploring the notion of 'mortal embodiment' within the context of cadaveric organ donation. We consider how the embodiment of mortality shapes ambivalent perceptions surrounding the dispossession of body parts in late modernity. Using a hermeneutic approach, multiple active interviews have been conducted with potential female donors, aged 21-30 who claim to harbour ambivalent perceptions towards organ donation. Through our 'rich and thick data' we reveal how potential donors actively weave personalised narratives of their embodied self by drawing on socio-cultural constructs of the body. We propose that the current organ donation promotional message of the "gift-of-life" should build on these 'embodied life themes and projects.' Through a hermeneutic perspective, our paper seeks to contribute to the growing appreciation for an alternative ontological perspective, thereby challenging the dominant influence of Cartesian philosophy in marketing. Finally, we highlight the wider applications of 'mortal embodiment' to explore other marketplaces and consumption behaviour.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Gloucestershire Business School, UK

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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