Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 213-229

First online:

Class and Ethnicity in the Global Market for Organs: The Case of Korean Cinema

  • Rebecca GardenAffiliated withCenter for Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY Upstate Medical Center Email author 
  • , Hyon Joo Yoo MurphreeAffiliated withDepartment of English, University of Vermont

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While organ transplantation has been established in the medical imagination since the 1960s, this technology is currently undergoing a popular re-imagination in the era of global capitalism. As transplantation procedures have become routine in medical centers in non-Western and developing nations and as organ sales and transplant tourism become increasingly common, organs that function as a material resource increasingly derive from subaltern bodies. This essay explores this development as represented in Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s 2002 Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, focusing on the ethnic and class characteristics of the global market in organs and possible modes of counter-logic to transplant technologies and related ethical discourses.


Organ transplantation Biopower Korean cinema