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Accepted Paper:

Making ethically sound tissues, people and institutions: testing practices in enacting "safe" blood management in the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service  
Ronja Tammi (University of Helsinki)

Short abstract:

This paper, based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, analyses the ways testing is used to enact and determine the (un)ethicality of donated blood, blood products as well as the people and institutions handling and governing it.

Long abstract:

Blood can be considered as a classical topic—as a metaphor and as an actual human biological material—in social sciences studying phenomena of the medical world, kinship, and donation practices. However, since Titmuss’s famous book published in 1970, the world of blood and its donation have come a long way—or have they? In this paper, I examine how the ethics and moral properties of donated human blood, as well as the people donating, handling and governing it, are enacted in the testing practices of the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service's (FRCBS) everyday work.

This paper stems from ethnographic fieldwork and expert interviews collected in 2023–2024 at the FRCBS. The fieldwork was conducted at the main FRCBS site, which is an extraordinary place: all blood donated in Finland is transported there, where it is separated and processed into various blood products, tested for infectious diseases as well as for blood groups, and eventually sent to hospitals. In this paper, which is still very much a work-in-progress, I focus on looking into the ways blood products sold for hospitals, as well as their handlers, governing institutions and donors are enacted as (un)ethical and how value is given for donated human blood in these everyday practices.

This paper if part of my doctoral research project, in which I study the everyday ethics of donated tissues in Finland, analysing egg, blood and corneal donation practices in parallel. In my project I am particularly interested in the role and meanings of genetics in these ethical practices.

Traditional Open Panel P309
Governing biomedical tests: towards social studies of bio-medical testing?
  Session 2 Friday 19 July, 2024, -