Mobilizing for life

Illegality, organ transplants, and migrant biosociality

Authored by: Jonathan Xavier Inda

Routledge Handbook of Chicana/o Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138847873
eBook ISBN: 9781315726366
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past few decades, health-based claims and matters of life have become central to the citizenship politics of the West (Inda 2014; Ong 2006). In Brazil, for example, the state has followed “a policy of biotechnology for the people,” universalizing access to life-saving AIDS medication in the name of fostering the health of each and every individual (Biehl 2007, p. 8). In France, ill health is now by and large deemed the most credible grounds for conferring legal recognition upon asylum seekers, with individuals suffering from life-threatening pathologies being the most likely to gain official residency permits (Fassin 2001; Ticktin 2011). In the United States, individuals afflicted with a wide range of diseases – from AIDS and mental illness to chronic fatigue syndrome and muscular dystrophy – are taking action and being recognized on the basis of their damaged biology (Landzelius 2006; Rapp, Taussig & Heath n.d.). Across the West, then, individuals have come to make claims on and be recognized by political, medical, and other authorities in terms of “their ‘vital’ rights as citizens” (Rose & Novas 2005, p. 441).

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