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Abstract

Xenotransplantation is a controversial medical science where living animal parts are transplanted into humans. While the literature on xenotransplantation is vast in regards to medical and scientific research, and ethics, it is comparatively lacking in social science. This article examines the literature on the social aspects of xenotransplantation, with a focus on public perception, ontology and identity, meat, knowledge production, animal bodies and scientific knowledge. This demonstrates that the science seeks to stabilise the understandings and social perceptions of xenotransplantation by using natural and cultural arguments, but the public exhibit significant uncertainty and ambiguity. The article concludes by suggesting future directions for the social research on xenotransplantation.