Home    Number 6, 2014

"Thank You for the Kidney!": Power and Consumption in Organ Theft Legends

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

A.A. Panchenko | apanchenko2008@gmail.com


cannibalism, organ transplantation, organ theft, contemporary legends, conspiracy narratives


The article discusses so called organ theft legends and baby-parts stories. While there are a number of substantial works on the issue in Western folklore studies, it has been barely researched in Russia. The plot line under consideration is likely to be familiar to the reader: a person is kidnapped or killed in order to obtain organs or tissues for transplantation. What may be considered as certain “symbolic reference points” sustaining the dissemination of organ theft legends are the notions of power and social-economic dominance of some social groups, nations, or states over others, as well as collective fears of the “risk society” which metonymically turn the loss of individual identity into the loss of control over the own body.


Panchenko, A.A. 2014. “Thank You for the Kidney!”: Power and Consumption in Organ Theft Legends. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 22-42

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