McGill Sociological Review is a graduate, peer-reviewed academic journal housed in the Department of Sociology at McGill University. I’m a big supporter of graduate journals and very much value the professionalizing role they play in the development of the skills and careers of emerging researchers. Having worked for two graduate journals myself, I understand the tremendous amount of effort it takes to turn them into successful and thriving sites of academic exchange, so I appreciate the effort that the editors, peer-reviewers, and others commit to the journal.
Matter from bodies becomes tissue, rather than this being an ontological given. Practices and heterogeneous collectives of actors, including histological study, organ donation, biopsies, hospital waste collection, and therapeutic uses of tissue products imbue tissues with complex social and cultural lives. These tissue lives are contradictory, producing tissue as an intelligible and acceptable object as well as a contested and unstable one. I argue that tissues represent a duality of fragmentation and wholeness, sometimes metonymically standing in for the body in which they originated (e.g. biopsies), sometimes associated solely with a “laboratory life” (e.g. tissue cultures), and sometimes becoming a new part of an existing body (e.g. transplants). While these processes have been elaborated in the literature, we lack a terminology that captures and accounts for them. As such, in this paper I propose the notion of the “tissue-fragment” as a way to conceptualize these entities more fully in their biotechnological and embodied existence.
I’d be pleased to hear any comments you may have!