Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor/ Associate Director of Health Care Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2003
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies (ethics), Indiana University / Bloomington
Gift of Life or Relay of Life: A Contemporary Analysis of Organ Donation/Transplantation Policy, U.S.-Japan

I will comparatively analyze U.S. and Japanese organ transplantation policies, particularly exploring how inchoate religious and cultural factors affect policy. In Japan, unlike the U.S., organ donation--especially from the brain dead--remains fiercely controversial and generally disfavored despite obvious technological capability. I will explore the story behind the Japanese donation-promotion slogan "the relay of/for life," which was designed as a rejection of the American slogan "give the gift of life." Competing slogans may reveal competing underlying symbol-systems, and how they are tapped in policy arenas. They may also provide a prism on the ambiguity and multi-valence of relevant cultural symbols, and thus the complexity of their influence on policy.