Morris, Rebecca Hazel (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis critically questions, through in-depth qualitative research, the senses of connection, giving, care, and relatedness felt by blood donors and recipients, given the institutional setting of therapeutic blood exchange in the UK. In it, I use a multi-sited auto-ethnographic approach to examine five blood donor-/recipient-participant views on blood donation and transfusion. Specifically, I blend theoretical and empirical research to iterate between the meanings and realities associated with therapeutic blood exchange, exploring and examining the following things. First, I explore how blood can be treated as material culture: what it is as both biological tissue and as social/cultural metaphor. Second, I examine how gift giving and caring feed into and out of blood exchange, and whether this fosters a sense of connectedness for the anonymous others at the end of the blood pack. Third, I roll out the theme of connectedness to look at (the geographies of) relatedness where I examine the changing nature of kinship and its evolution into the concept of relatedness. Here, I examine how both relating through ‘things’ and at different scales could perhaps more usefully describe the connection/relationship between donors and recipients...or not. Finally, I draw this together, examining how the institutional framework of the National Blood Service can be said to either foster or not, the senses of connectedness and/or relatedness, gift giving and care between its donors and recipients.
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