The economics of symbolic goods and the creation of a favorable environment for organ and tissue donation: an analysis of campaigns to promote organ and tissue donation

Abstract This article aims to analyze which are the symbols that the National Transplant System (STN) produces to build a favorable environment for organ and tissue donation. The study is based on the analysis of symbolism in advertising discourses of Brazilian organizations that promote organ and tissue donation. A theoretical plan is presented to discuss the principles at the base of the economy of symbolic exchanges within a social logic. The article argues that this process stimulates altruistic behavior and aims to avoid the mercantile behavior around organ and tissue donation. In the empirical plan, a semiotic analysis in organ donation advertise campaigns was conducted, observing that public and private actors use a set of symbols aiming to establish subjective truths that stimulate the donation in opposition to mercantile behavior.