Today the social and material situations of sick bodies are increasingly
and intimately bound up with the variable moral economies
of national healthcare systems in uncertain and contrastive ways.
I approach these ‘intimate uncertainties’ comparatively and methodologically
by drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on transplant
medicine in Mexico in order to interrogate European healthcare,
specifically the UK. The UK National Health Service is an exemplary
site of moral economy, one that the Mexican case appears to stand
in stark contrast to. However, as I show, the uncertainties we see at
work in Mexico enable us to seek them out in the UK too, particularly
those generated at the nexus of the state, failing organs and new
strategies for healthcare rationing. The article traces the gendered
and socioeconomic inequalities, which follow from these shifts, while
offering a critique of analyses that take the European and North
American experience as methodologically foundational.