The article deals with the question of individuality defined through the 'icon of the immune system'. After a short introduction concerning the emergence of immunology I present the dominant models of the immune system (self/non-self opposition and danger theory), which symbolic representations as a way of defining self and other have influenced general notions of understanding individuality. Further on I present a critique of these conceptions, arguing that even though previous categories proved to be inadequate there is still a need to work on conceptualizing a new approach towards the issue. In order to strengthen my argument I will use a case study of transplant recipients. The conclusion of this essay will focus on the need of rethinking the model of the immune system instead of deconstructing the - what has become a very strong and significant – category and the feminist theory role in this process. .
Immune system: a bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells and tissue by producing the immune response and that includes esp. the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies. .
Merriam – Webster's Medical Dictionary.
The question of what makes our organism keep us healthy has been a subject of investigation for many centuries. The beginnings of immunology, study of the immune system, have their roots already in the ancient times. During the 'Plague of Athens', a devastating epidemic in the city of Athens during the Peloponnesian War in 430 BC, Thucidydes noted that people who have recovered from the illness could look after the sick without any danger of the transmission of disease1. This is considered to be one of the first observations concerning the immune response of our bodies. It wasn't until the 20th century, however, that the study of immunology and an adequate definition of the immune system were formed.