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Beyond the gift/commodity binary : sustaining altruism in blood and plasma donation through alternative exchange systems

Sam Gorleer (UGent) , Piet Bracke (UGent) and Lesley Hustinx (UGent)
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Abstract
The discourse surrounding blood donation policy is often confined to the “gift versus commodity” binary, considering blood donation as either a pure gift or a paid market transaction. In this chapter, we highlight that both sides of this duality represent idealised forms of exchange that shape alternative and more complex exchange forms in the organisation of blood collection. Following the institutional theory of altruism, this chapter also builds on the idea that the concept of blood donation as an altruistic gift is essentially a social construct further sustained by the cultural work of the organisations involved. Based on a qualitative case study of blood collection in Flanders, Belgium, we explore one central aspect of this cultural work as developed and sustained by Red Cross-Flanders: the use of thank you coupons to recognise, reward and incentivise donors after donation. Based on in-depth interviews with donors, our analysis shows that this currency as organised by the Red Cross consolidates the ideal of pure and altruistic blood donation, despite its clear status as a reciprocal mechanism.

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MLA
Gorleer, Sam, et al. “Beyond the Gift/Commodity Binary : Sustaining Altruism in Blood and Plasma Donation through Alternative Exchange Systems.” Economic Sociology in Europe : Recent Trends and Developments, edited by Andrea Maurer et al., Routledge, 2023, pp. 91–110, doi:10.4324/9781003353560-7.
APA
Gorleer, S., Bracke, P., & Hustinx, L. (2023). Beyond the gift/commodity binary : sustaining altruism in blood and plasma donation through alternative exchange systems. In A. Maurer, S. Nessel, & A. Veira-Ramos (Eds.), Economic sociology in Europe : recent trends and developments (pp. 91–110). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003353560-7
Chicago author-date
Gorleer, Sam, Piet Bracke, and Lesley Hustinx. 2023. “Beyond the Gift/Commodity Binary : Sustaining Altruism in Blood and Plasma Donation through Alternative Exchange Systems.” In Economic Sociology in Europe : Recent Trends and Developments, edited by Andrea Maurer, Sebastian Nessel, and Alberto Veira-Ramos, 91–110. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003353560-7.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Gorleer, Sam, Piet Bracke, and Lesley Hustinx. 2023. “Beyond the Gift/Commodity Binary : Sustaining Altruism in Blood and Plasma Donation through Alternative Exchange Systems.” In Economic Sociology in Europe : Recent Trends and Developments, ed by. Andrea Maurer, Sebastian Nessel, and Alberto Veira-Ramos, 91–110. London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781003353560-7.
Vancouver
1.
Gorleer S, Bracke P, Hustinx L. Beyond the gift/commodity binary : sustaining altruism in blood and plasma donation through alternative exchange systems. In: Maurer A, Nessel S, Veira-Ramos A, editors. Economic sociology in Europe : recent trends and developments. London: Routledge; 2023. p. 91–110.
IEEE
[1]
S. Gorleer, P. Bracke, and L. Hustinx, “Beyond the gift/commodity binary : sustaining altruism in blood and plasma donation through alternative exchange systems,” in Economic sociology in Europe : recent trends and developments, A. Maurer, S. Nessel, and A. Veira-Ramos, Eds. London: Routledge, 2023, pp. 91–110.
@incollection{01HD6E6B7B303WY53H072B2434,
  abstract     = {{The discourse surrounding blood donation policy is often confined to the “gift versus commodity” binary, considering blood donation as either a pure gift or a paid market transaction. In this chapter, we highlight that both sides of this duality represent idealised forms of exchange that shape alternative and more complex exchange forms in the organisation of blood collection. Following the institutional theory of altruism, this chapter also builds on the idea that the concept of blood donation as an altruistic gift is essentially a social construct further sustained by the cultural work of the organisations involved. Based on a qualitative case study of blood collection in Flanders, Belgium, we explore one central aspect of this cultural work as developed and sustained by Red Cross-Flanders: the use of thank you coupons to recognise, reward and incentivise donors after donation. Based on in-depth interviews with donors, our analysis shows that this currency as organised by the Red Cross consolidates the ideal of pure and altruistic blood donation, despite its clear status as a reciprocal mechanism.}},
  author       = {{Gorleer, Sam and Bracke, Piet and Hustinx, Lesley}},
  booktitle    = {{Economic sociology in Europe : recent trends and developments}},
  editor       = {{Maurer, Andrea and Nessel, Sebastian and Veira-Ramos, Alberto}},
  isbn         = {{9781003353560}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{91--110}},
  publisher    = {{Routledge}},
  title        = {{Beyond the gift/commodity binary : sustaining altruism in blood and plasma donation through alternative exchange systems}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.4324/9781003353560-7}},
  year         = {{2023}},
}

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