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Title: Affectivity and liminality in the process of becoming a donor kin
Author: Moreno, Eduard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 5400
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis engages with contemporary debates within the social sciences concerning the study of affect and emotion via a reanalysis of qualitative data on deceased organ donation collected in Catalonia (Spain). The practice of transferring organs from a deceased body to a living one is a medical procedure with a long and complex history reviewed in the second chapter. In contemporary Spain, this practice is highly contingent on the outcome of an encounter between healthcare professionals and bereaved families. Hence, the affectivity involved in this situation emerges as a key element in the process of becoming donor kin. This emotional experience is approached from a theoretical perspective in the third chapter, where current debates on the limitations of adopting discursive approaches to emotions and the pertinence of turning to so-called affect theories are reviewed. The benefits of adopting an abductive approach are outlined in chapter four, a.nd in the fifth chapter this theoretical engagement is complemented with, and informs, a close reading of the themes and metaphors emerging from the data (originating from interviews, focus group and ethnographic observations). As a result, this thesis suggests that the concept of liminality facilitates the articulation of a genuinely process-oriented approach, capable of integrating the affective and discursive aspects of emotional experience, and linking the ontological and empirical dimensions of social research. It is argued that a so-called sentimental structure privileging altruistic behavior circulates across the Catalan population's social imaginaries, potentially endorsing the status of donor kin. However, alternative metaphors used to describe this process, such as sacrifice or tragedy, reveal this position will be actualised only as long as the liminal conditions of the particular encounter are correctly navigated. Thus, the process of becoming donor kin as a rite of passage, summoning up the mutual reinforcement of tendencies towards its optimisation and continuous attempts to escape it, is described in the sixth chapter. How these dynamics expand beyond the actual encounter is explored in detail in chapter seven, to document how the encounter is not only shaped by broader societal frameworks but has the potential to change them. The thesis concludes by reflecting back on the benefits and pitfalls of the unorthodox methodological procedure employed, arguing for an extension of the notion of liminality to the study of similar affect-laden experiences and stressing the value of the caring practices provided by transplant coordinators toward an art of dying.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L000 Social Sciences