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Reified LifeSpeculative Capital and the Ahuman Condition$
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J. Paul Narkunas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280308

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280308.001.0001

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Reification of the Human

Reification of the Human

Global Organ Harvesting and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

(p.227) Chapter 8 Reification of the Human
Reified Life

J. Paul Narkunas

Fordham University Press

Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go follows a group of genetic clones who are created as wards of the British health service because they serve a utilitarian function: They are manufactured for the purpose of having their vital organs harvested until their death. The world he envisions of a grouping of humans reproduced to be a living warehouse of organs while certainly dreadful is nowhere near as horrific as when organ transplantation and global uneven development intersect in our neoliberal present. Ishiguro shows how humans who view their humanity instrumentally expedite a world that is ready to slice them into shares, monetizing all the parts along the way. Through Ishiguro’s text, I diagnose the reification of the body as an aggregation of fungible body parts. Human reification challenges bioethicists and cultural critics alike to reflect on how human dignity and bodily integrity no longer serve as barriers for marking the species-limit due to new advances in biotechnology.

Keywords:   Bioethics, Biotechnology, Ishiguro, Kazuo, Monetization, Never Let Me Go, Organ Trafficking, Organ Transplantation, Philanthropic Non-Profits, Reification, Waste

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