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Accepted Paper:

From a moral point of view. Ethical subjectivities and the struggle for a humanisation of care  
Luigigiovanni Quarta (Università di Bergamo)

Paper short abstract:

In the field of organs’ donation decisions are the result of a breakage of clinical imaginary of physicians. Ethnographically grounded analysis show us that all ethical subjectivities concerned in the donation’s choice embed moral worlds legitimating or (de)constructing clinical practices.

Paper long abstract:

Focusing on my ethnographic research carried out on organs’ transplantation from December 2018 to march 2020, I will reflect on two aspects involved in the procurement’s process.

Firstly, in an intensive care, different subjectivities are engaged in donation, everyone using a specific lexicon and her own biographical path. There are physicians relating themselves to procurement’s process in terms of resources for care; nurses suspended between the clinical necessity of a well-done process of procurement and the safeguard of emotions of dead person’s relatives; the relatives living their dramatic moment, needing to elaborate the concept of death and taking a choice concerning the integrity of their relative’s body. We find also other forgotten subjectivities: far from our intensive care, there is someone – with his affective and family context – on hold of a form of care: an organ. Different orders of complexity pass through the social space of this encounter: legislative order, affective order, cognitive order.

Secondly, I want to underpin that choice in organs’ transplantation depends mainly on the moral imaginary of dead person’s relatives. In their choice, they find an outcome of their entire biography, discovering the affective sense of the history of their dead loved ones and of their moral projection in the future. Their decision is often the result of a breakage of clinical imaginary of physicians, obliged to force legislative protocols in order to legitimate the relatives’ affective experiences, and may become a generative mechanism of a different moral practices of all subjectivities involved in.

Panel P014b
The Local Lives of Moral Concepts. Ethnographic Explorations of the Everyday Shaping of Morality and Ethics II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -