The normalisation of body gifting in Taiwan
(2016) BioSocieties, 11 (2), pp. 135-151.
The Tzu Chi Foundation has made body gifting, such as body donation, bone marrow donation and cord blood donation, successful in Taiwan. Using Foucault’s theoretical framework of governmentality and normalisation, this article discusses how a Buddhist charity, the Tzu Chi Foundation, normalises body gifting in Taiwan through their campaigns, system and philosophy. It argues that Buddhist discourses of karma create a ‘benefit-all altruism’ in body gifting. Furthermore, the emergence of the Tzu Chi Foundation in the last five decades has been a process of discipline and norm construction. The Tzu Chi Foundation, with its comprehensive missions, builds up an extensive network to spread their philosophy in different fields, from environmental protection and humanity education to medical care. The practice-oriented and community-based volunteer system helps the ‘giving’ ideology take root in the communities in Taiwan. Finally, through the media and the Internet, the effect goes beyond the institutional boundaries and reaches the public. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Body gifting; Foucault; Normalisation; Taiwan; Tzu Chi