Fighting Hydra

The Uncertainties of Waiting for a Liver Transplant

  • Julia Rehsmann Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern
Keywords: uncertainty, im/mobility, waiting, organ transplantation, liver disease, Germany

Abstract

This article sheds light on the experiences of people waiting for a liver transplant. I argue that waiting lists serve as a technological tool to deal with the uncertainties inherent in medicine, but like Hercules fi ghting Hydra, one tamed uncertainty is merely replaced by two new ones. Drawing on ethnographic material from Germany, I argue that these lists retain those waiting in a temporal limbo of uncertain duration and outcome, making them spatially, temporally and existentially immobile.

Author Biography

Julia Rehsmann, Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern

Julia Rehsmann is a PhD candidate and research fellow at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern. Her dissertation on liver transplantation is part of an SNSF-funded research project on «Intimate Uncertainties. Precarious Life and Moral Economy Across European Borders», headed by Prof. Sabine Strasser.

Published
2017-05-01
How to Cite
Rehsmann, Julia. 2017. “Fighting Hydra: The Uncertainties of Waiting for a Liver Transplant”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 22 (May):47-56. https://doi.org/10.36950/tsantsa.2017.22.7346.
Section
Special Issue