Zwischen Kreaturen. Die Transformation der Ordnungen von Mensch und Tier in der Xenotransplantation
In the 1990s, the idea of xenotransplantation (i.e., the transplantation of bodily tissue across species boundaries) was largely considered an unprecedented threat to both the individual body and human identity itself. Given that this technique was used since the late nineteenth century to cure a wide variety of ailments, interpreting xenotransplantation as an unparalleled violation of the species order turns out to be inconsistent, however. I therefore argue that the sense of violation outlined above is not the result of a radically new technique, but stems from the transformation of the concept of bodily as well as species integrity. Against the backdrop of the evolution of cybernetics, I compare the practices and paradigms of xenotransplantation in the interwar period to those of the millennial period. I demonstrate that in the field of xenotransplantation, the concept of both body and species shifted from stable structures such as hierarchy, division of labour, and localisation to precarious ones such as potentiality, dispersion, networks, and ambiguity. Mankind, having instrumentalized the animal kingdom throughout modernity, increasingly views itself since the end of the twentieth century as a part of a complex arrangement in which nature and culture, body and mind, man and animal are intricately fused.