Xenotourism and Xenotravel: Some notes on global regulation
Cook, Peta S., Kendall, Gavin P., Michael, Mike, & Brown, Nik (2005) Xenotourism and Xenotravel: Some notes on global regulation. In Social Change in the 21st Century, 28 October 2005, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.
A Mexican treatment centre currently offers to transplant insulin-producing (islet) cells into people with Type-1 diabetes. The transplantation material is sourced from 'clean' laboratory pigs in an attempt to enable the human patient to produce insulin internally. Using this example, our paper investigates three issues:- 1) The geographical location of this procedure and responses from other parts of world tell us much about technology as a global/local process. We examine to what extent Mexico is understood as an (in)appropriate venue for such a dangerous procedure, and how tropes of global regulation can be used to inhibit or advance technoscientific procedures. 2) Patient compliance has long been a difficult issue for the medical profession. Xenotransplantation is particularly problematic in this regard; not only are there risks for the individual patient, but also there are concerns about trans-species retroviruses against which humans have no known protection. Individual patients are required to balance the compulsion that they manage their health as responsible neo-liberal citizens with the necessity to avoid epidemics. We examine responses to this treatment that oscillate between calls for individual freedom and global regulation. 3) We examine the extent to which medical treatments are increasingly commodified (or connected to leisure broadly conceived). We analyse Mexican xenotransplantation as an example of 'medical tourism', where explicit links are established between medical procedures, holidays, accommodation and other tourist consumption experiences.
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