© 2014

On Face Transplantation: Life and Ethics in Experimental Biomedicine


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Samuel Taylor-Alexander
    Pages 1-18
  3. Samuel Taylor-Alexander
    Pages 19-33
  4. Samuel Taylor-Alexander
    Pages 34-56
  5. Samuel Taylor-Alexander
    Pages 57-63
  6. Samuel Taylor-Alexander
    Pages 64-67
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 68-74

About this book


Drawing together interview material, medical publications, and first-hand accounts, this book shows that what is being remade in the burgeoning medical field of face transplantation is not only the lives of patients, but also the very ways that state institutions, surgeons, and families make sense of rights, claims for inclusion, and life itself.


biomedicine ethics Familie Institution medicine transplantation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AucklandNew Zealand

About the authors

Samuel Taylor-Alexander is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and was previously a Visiting Fellow in the Science, Technology and Society Program at Harvard University, USA.

Bibliographic information


"The politics of medicine, the sociotechnical assembling of norms and harms, and the constitution of subjects are skilfully shown by Taylor-Alexander to be processes that are tightly interwoven - indeed, co-produced - in the experimental clinical praxis of face-transplantation. In this subtle book we confront key questions around identity and care that resist easy answers, and are invited into a world of operating theatres, drugs, scars and mirrors that few of us will encounter but which demand consideration and engagement." - Martyn Pickersgill, University of Edinburgh, UK

"With this poignant reflection on face transplants, Taylor-Alexander stretches the genre of anthropology of medicine [ ] prompting us to think again about the meaning of ethical treatment, and the mismatch of power between healer and healed, as biomedicine blurs the boundaries between life and death." - Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School, USA