Sarah-Louise Johnson

Sarah-Louise Johnson

Department of Philosophy
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

  • PhD title: Commodification of bodies and persons
  • Supervisor: Heather Widdows


My PhD considers the ethical problem of body commodification. More specifically, I am interested in what makes certain markets harmful, feminist debates on surrogacy and prostitution, and whether there is property in the body. This follows on from my Masters dissertation which argued against kidney sale.

In my thesis, I aim to develop working definitions of ‘exploitation’, ‘objectification’ and ‘commodification’ and apply these to several case studies to determine their authenticity. I am particularly interested in the commodification of female bodies and persons and will argue that women are more likely to be exploited, objectified and commodified on my working definitions of these terms.

In addition to working on my PhD, I also teach on the Royal Institute of Philosophy’s Jacobsen teaching scheme at Thomas Telford School. I am teaching sessions on feminist biomedical ethics as an introduction to philosophy, and seeking to encourage sixth-form students to undertake philosophy at degree level.

I can be contacted by email or via my webpage.


  • Marway H, Johnson S, Widdows H. (2014): "Commodification of Human Tissue" . In Gordijn B, ten Have HAMJ (eds),  Handbook of Global Bioethics . Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 581-598.