HomeMaterial transfer, transplantation and manufacturing of the living

Material transfer, transplantation and manufacturing of the living

Transfert de matières, transplantation et fabrication du vivant

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Published on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

From bacteria or stem cells through to blood or animal organs, or even unusual parts of the body such as the face, the ambition of this conference is to provide an overview of material transfers that are enacted in the context of research or in the hospital, in order to identify their diversity and socio-technical complexity.

Announcement

Argument

Living beings are unique organizations of matter. At the individual scale, they have a degree of autonomy that allows them to self-repair, to regenerate. At the scale of the population, these systems are endowed with plasticity, as shown in evolutionary “tinkering” (Jacob, 1981) : new species constantly appear following random assemblages that gather and integrate foreign elements (Kirschner, Gerhart, 2005).

Tinkering and assemblage are thus form-giving processes inherent to the existence of living beings. Science and medical techniques have been developed in the lineage of this configuration of the individual and the population, as practices of repair and acts of assemblage. Organ transplantation is perhaps the most paradigmatic example. Since the development of organ medicine in the nineteenth century and the introduction of a causal relation between a deficient organism and a disease, surgeons retrieved and (re)introduced bits of the organism, or foreign materials, for the restoration of associated functions (Schlich, 2010). Organ transplantation is regularly described as one of the great miracles of modern science. Whereas this perception of transplantation as miraculous appears justified, it has also the negative counterpart of masking the various issues raised by this medical technique for those beings harvested, transplanted as well as for those around them (Sharp, 2006 Lock, 2002). This focus on the technical performance of organ transplantation has also a second unfortunate consequence: it covers over the link between this process and the inherent tinkering of the living, Furthermore, a focus on technique masks a set of practices around the transfer of materials from humans and non-humans, practices which have contributed for several centuries to the care as well as to the production of existing beings.

The idea of this conference emerged from this observation. From a certain point of view, it will be about putting organ transplantation « in its place », which is to say, alongside a patchwork of transfers and assorted material practices between living beings. The list of « intruders » is thereby greatly enriched. From bacteria or stem cells through to blood or animal organs, or even unusual parts of the body such as the face, the ambition of this conference is to provide an overview of material transfers that are enacted in the context of research or in the hospital, in order to identify their diversity and socio-technical complexity (Akrich, Callon, Latour, 2006). Beyond such demonstration, the perspective is comparative: what are the similarities and differences that appear between these innovations and their effective implementation? How do chemical, physiological, organic, psychological and social levels interact? What about the identity of human beings who receive these transfers? What is the impact of such transfers on theories of the composition of personhood elaborated by people around the world? Through this set of scales and materials, the aim is to better understand the impact that transfers and transplantations of matter both had and continue to have in the production of the living today.

References

  • Akrich, M., Callon, M., Latour, B., 2006, Sociologie de la traduction : Textes fondateurs, Paris, Presses de l’Ecole des Mines
  • Jacob, F., 1981, Le jeu des possibles. Essai sur la diversité du vivant, Fayard, Paris
  • Kirschner, MW., Gerhart, JC., 2005, The Plausibility of Life, Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma, Yale University Press
  • Lock,  M.,  2002, Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death. Berkeley, University of California Press
  • Schlich, T., 2010, The Origins of Organ Transplantation. Surgery and laboratory science. 1880 – 1930, University of Rochester Press

Organizers

  • Ludovic Jullien,
  • Marie Le Clainche – Piel,
  • Perig Pitrou,
  • Catherine Rémy

On 21 and 22 November 2014

[Please click here to fill our registration form]

Places

  • Université Paris Descartes, Grand Amphithéâtre - 12 de l’École de Médecine
    Paris, France (75006)

Date(s)

  • Friday, November 21, 2014
  • Saturday, November 22, 2014

Keywords

  • vivant, transplantation, organe, médecine

Contact(s)

  • Fabien Provost
    courriel : provost [dot] fabien [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Marie Le Clainche - Piel
    courriel : leclainchepiel [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Marie Le Clainche - Piel
    courriel : leclainchepiel [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Material transfer, transplantation and manufacturing of the living », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, https://calenda.org/303947

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