Powered by OpenAIRE graph
Found an issue? Give us feedback

Hematopolitics: Blood Donation and Contested Belonging in East Asia

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: AH/X010600/1
Funded under: AHRC Funder Contribution: 201,799 GBP

Hematopolitics: Blood Donation and Contested Belonging in East Asia

Description

Since the discovery of the life-saving power of blood transfusion, human blood has become an invaluable resource for treatment in modern biomedicine; however, maintaining a steady and safe supply of blood continues to be a challenge in many societies around the world. Even in wealthier countries where the blood-donation rate has been relatively high, new challenges lie ahead as populations age and new infectious diseases like COVID-19 emerge. This research questions how such issues are prompting new understandings of social identity and belonging around blood. Focusing on Japan and South Korea, where blood has strong symbolic power in relation to kinship, nationhood and pollution, I ask how national identity and social relationships are imagined and contested through blood donation. This extends the existing parameters of social analyses of blood donation, which have tended to focus on altruism and social solidarity. Instead of limiting my inquiry to individuals' motivations to donate blood or the strong bond this creates, I ask how blood donation conjures up concepts of social boundaries around implicit understandings of who should donate to whom and why. By employing a new framework - hematopolitics - I highlight the mundane processes through which these boundaries are drawn and challenged by blood donors, health professionals, patients and larger publics. In order to contextualise these social dynamics within the respective histories of blood banking in the two countries, I will examine archival materials to trace how blood donation has mobilised and changed notions of blood and blood relations since the introduction of blood-banking systems in the mid-twentieth century. In particular, I will scrutinise how blood donation has been established as a practice in citizenship amidst post-war nation-building around beliefs in pure-blooded nationhood in the two countries. I will then interrogate how these historically formed understandings are embodied and contested by people involved in blood banking today. I will visit blood-donation centres and campaigns and talk to blood donors, health professionals at blood banks and patients receiving transfusions. Furthermore, I will underline the perspectives of those who are marginalised in nationalistic imaginaries, such as various ethnic and socioeconomic minorities, to explore how new senses of belonging are emerging via exchanges of blood across social boundaries. I will then further situate these dynamics within the broader cultural politics of blood by examining discourses relating to so-called ideal blood donors, good/pure blood, bad/polluted blood and innocent patients that are circulating on social media. By tracing social dynamics around blood as it flows from blood donors to patients and situating these dynamics within the histories of blood banking and the cultural politics of blood, this research offers a revealing insight into the co-production of social order and health infrastructure. In the context of East Asia, this project will be one of the first to bring well-established work on pure-blood ideology and nationalism into conversation with the critical study of biotechnology. By promoting a biocultural understanding of blood-based nationalism, I unveil how blood donation operates as a site where citizens' relationships with nation-states are embodied and contested. More broadly, this research sheds light on the remaking of social relationships and belonging in the era of biotechnology. It has now become routine practice to take tissues from people to save lives and develop diagnostics, therapeutics and data repositories. These tissue donations are becoming the most visceral contact points between citizens amidst growing economic/political polarisation and health disparities. This research elucidates the potential for social transformation in the ways ordinary people give their body parts for the good of the health of fellow citizens and future generations.

Data Management Plans
Powered by OpenAIRE graph
Found an issue? Give us feedback

Do the share buttons not appear? Please make sure, any blocking addon is disabled, and then reload the page.

All Research products
arrow_drop_down
<script type="text/javascript">
<!--
document.write('<div id="oa_widget"></div>');
document.write('<script type="text/javascript" src="https://www.openaire.eu/index.php?option=com_openaire&view=widget&format=raw&projectId=ukri________::f8edec34192d0e752bb9de7de20d6a4e&type=result"></script>');
-->
</script>
For further information contact us at helpdesk@openaire.eu

No option selected
arrow_drop_down