We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Bioethics and Organ Transplantation in a Muslim Society

A Study in Culture, Ethnography, and Religion

Farhat Moazam

Publication Year: 2006

"Dr. Farhat Moazam has written a wonderful book, based on her extraordinary first-hand study.... [S]he is an exceptionally gifted and evocative writer. Her book not only has the attributes of a superb piece of intellectual work, but it has literary artistic merit." -- Renee C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania

This is an ethnographic study of live, related kidney donation in Pakistan, based on Farhat Moazam's participant-observer research conducted at a public hospital. Her narrative is both a "thick" description of renal transplant cases and the cultural, ethical, and family conflicts that accompany them, and an object lesson in comparative bioethics.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Bioethics and the Humanities

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (44.1 KB)
pp. ix-x

There are innumerable people who helped to bring this book into existence; they live in worlds separated by more than merely the span of the Atlantic Ocean. My thanks in Pakistan go to the many patients and their family members who allowed me into their lives and were willing to share their most personal thoughts, memories, and experiences with me. I am also immensely indebted to the many...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (102.4 KB)
pp. 1-20

As a practicing pediatric surgeon in the United States and Pakistan, I was a bona fide, card-carrying member of a scientific “orthodoxy” that constructs its legitimacy around formal concepts, dispassionate observations, and rational objectivity. In my surgical clinics I focused on the (relative) certainty of the pathophysiology of disease and the predictability of how human organs respond to noxious...

read more

1. The Stage: Backdrop, Props, and Protagonists

pdf iconDownload PDF (217.9 KB)
pp. 21-72

In this chapter I sketch relevant aspects of the landscape that formed the background for my ethnographic field research in the Institute on live, related, renal transplantation in 2002. This includes features of the country called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the city of Karachi, and the Institute at which the dialysis and transplantations...

read more

2. Webs of Relationships and Obligations

pdf iconDownload PDF (196.4 KB)
pp. 73-121

Pakistan came into existence as an independent country only in 1947, but its people share long-standing cultural traditions and religious beliefs (more than 95 percent of the population is Muslim) that remain central to a construal of the “self” and also influence how individuals position themselves in the world and relate to each other...

read more

3. Giving and Receiving Kidneys: Perspectives of Pakistani Patients and Families

pdf iconDownload PDF (205.9 KB)
pp. 122-170

This chapter turns to interviews and narratives of donors, recipients, and their families in Pakistan, and my reflections on the ways in which they try to make sense of end-stage renal failure when it strikes their collective lives. It is an illness that not only threatens the life of the individual felled by the disease but one in which decisions about who should or should not donate a kidney can carry profound...

read more

4. A Surgeon in the Field

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.2 KB)
pp. 171-214

Ethnographic fieldwork poses the challenge of eventually producing a text that provides an intimate view of people or a community and how they construe and comprehend their lives, and yet must do so in as dispassionate a manner as possible. Geertz describes ethnographic writing as a challenge “to sound like a pilgrim and a cartographer at the same time,” transforming observations and experiences...

read more

5. Conclusion: Ethics and Pakistan

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.9 KB)
pp. 215-226

Science perceives factual knowledge of the human body and its pathophysiology as being universal in nature; after all, the ways in which human cells and organs respond to disease processes are, except for minor variations, not very different whether an individual is a resident of Asia or North America. But in the practice of medicine, physicians must reach beyond the textual realm of the...


pdf iconDownload PDF (121.3 KB)
pp. 227-242

selected bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.3 KB)
pp. 243-253


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.0 KB)
pp. 255-264

E-ISBN-13: 9780253112200
E-ISBN-10: 0253112206
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253347824

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Bioethics and the Humanities