Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 12-10-2016

Major Department or Program

Rhetoric Studies


Heather Ashley Hayes


This thesis examines the discourse of human organ transfer via an ideological analysis of two pro-organ donation advertisements. The first advertisement is a poster campaign by Felipe Franco—a Brazilian creative director who works in Hamburg, Germany. The second advertisement is a video commissioned by Donate Life—the largest non-profit in America dedicated to increasing the number of organ donors in the United States. This thesis argues that this particular set of pro-organ donation advertisements further embed the ideological fantasies already produced in the discourse of organ transfer. These ads, concretized by unconscious social desires, simultaneously occlude troubling aspects associated with organ transfer within the discourse. The five ideological fantasies referred to in this essay are: first, organs are only considered as altruistic gifts, and are not part of a market system. Second, that organ donation is a simple, easy, and non-invasive procedure. Third, if a person signs up to be a donor, they are immediately a better person and have a chance of redemption or becoming a martyr. Fourth, everyone’s organs are exactly the same, and are equally effective as any other person’s organs. Fifth, recipients of the organs will likely know whose organs they received. The choice to focus on the fantasies is to mark the illusions, driven by subconscious desire, that act as building blocks and legitimating forces that concretize and legitimate organ transfer discourse. Thus, the fantasies are responsible for shaping the material reality of people’s perceptions of organ transfer.

Key Words/Terms: Organ Transfer, Transplant Paradox, Transplant Ideology, Ideological Fantasy, Commodity Fetishism, Real of Desire, Human Economy, Credit Economy

Page Count


Subject Headings

Felipe Franco, Advertising campaigns -- Germany -- Evaluation, Donation of organs and tissues -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States -- Donate Life, Ideology -- Psychological aspects -- Influence, Cognitive processes -- Fantasy, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Rhetoric Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

Included in

Rhetoric Commons



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