The body is both a site for medical practice and a source of therapeutic and scientific tools. As such, there are a variety of meanings ascribed to the body which both affect and are affected by cultural, economic, political and legal complexities. In order to access and use body parts, Linda F. Hogle states, transformative scientific and cultural processes are brought into play. Nowhere is this more evident than present-day Germany, where the spectre of Nazi medical experimentation still plays a large role in national policies governing the use of body parts and the way these policies are put into practice. In their efforts to be perceived as not repeating atrocities of the past, German medical practitioners and policy-makers reformulate ideas of bodily violation. To further confuse the issue, the reunification of East and West Germany has engendered new questions about the relationship between individuals’ bodies, science, and the state.
Hogle shows how “universal” medicine is reinterpreted through the lens of national and transnational politics and history, using comparative examples from her research in the United. States. Recovering the Nation’s Body is the first book to analyze the actual practices involved in procuring human tissue, and the first to examine how the German past and the unique present-day situation within the European Union are key in understanding the form that medical practices take within various contexts.