The Organs Watch Files: a Brief History

In: Public Anthropologist

My article begins with a brief history of the Organs Watch project, its anthropological, ethnographic, and public engagements as an example of what Pierre Bourdieu called “scholarship with commitment.” I explain the heterodox methods required including undercover research and criminological studies into the grey zones of organized organ transplant trafficking. How do our normative obligations to our research informants differ when our informants happen to be criminals? When crimes are being committed, to whom does one owe their divided loyalties? Finally, I address the role of medical anthropologists and other committed social scientists in making public a hitherto invisible issue.