Blood is a potent symbol of ties between human beings, to the family and the nation – it also symbolizes exclusion of those with ”bad blood” and ”blood revenge” against those who have sinned against the community. Blood stands for individual traits (“it’s in the blood”) as well as social distinctions (“blue blood”). Blood flows tell of danger, death and impurity, evoke fear or disgust when trickling or gushing forth, in films or in reality.
But blood is also life-giving. How did the practice of moving blood between people appear historically, how did it evolve into the present complex system of blood donation, transfusion services and industrial production of products based on human blood? What techniques, knowledge, processes of exclusion and inclusion were and are involved? And how has the science of what is in the blood been used to understand human characteristics, establish paternity, distinguish and separate populations based on ideas of race and impurity?