Desperately seeking "normal": The promise and perils of living with kidney transplantation

Megan Crowley-Matoka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Organ transplantation offers a dramatic example of the promises for health held out by biomedicine - and thus, a productive vantage point from which to interrogate those promises. Drawing on ethnographic research on kidney transplantation in Guadalajara, Mexico, this article examines the version of "health" offered to patients through transplantation. The paper explores patients' transplant trajectories as they move from learning to desire a transplant to actually receiving one and living with it over the long term, all within particular structuring sociocultural and political economic conditions. The article analyzes how transplanted patients are forced to come to terms with the contingent states of "health" and " normality" wrought by transplantation as they carve out an existence in the persistently liminal spaces between the roles of "sick" and "healthy," dependent patient and fully contributing family member.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-831
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Liminality
  • Mexico
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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