Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyborg + PostHuman Theory

Read Donna Haraway's “A Cyborg Manifesto” at least from pages 149-152 and 164-165.
What are the effects of a Posthuman society, specifically the cyborg, in terms of gender roles?

Cyborg Manifesto Link

Haraway's criticism and point is masked in a myriad smoke screen of undefined links of word play and diluted meanings bound to a meandering stream of conscious (I just got done reading another book by Haraway so maybe I'm burned out on this style). Haraway's meaning in her excerpt could be summed up in one word: subversion. This is a highly reduced form obviously but at the same time cuts away the massive amount of intentional obfuscation that she incorporates into her argument. In conjunction with the posthuman, this attribute is seen in play primarily in boundary issues: "class, ethnic and cultural differences" (Hailes 85). The act of subverting boundaries is a primary issue here even beyond that of gender roles; it is a questioning of how cybernetics and all posthuman properties effect current social paradigms. One could comment (for whatever reason I'm not sure) on how "bestiality has a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange" (Haraway 152) or one could focus on more important, clear questions as the one posed by Wiener: "Where should the cybernetic dissolution of boundaries stop" (Hailes 85)? A possible response to this would be to question if there even should be a stop to these types of dissolutions. It is here where rhetoric and politics step in. Which boundaries and who do they serve? In today's society there are many of these boundary/power/dissolution/cybernetic switches ( I mash these all together as they seem to be entangled). One good example would be of the recent UC Davis incident. Everyone has seen the police officer pepper spraying the students (if not go here: but fast forward to the end (6:10ish) of the video to where the cops are making a strategic retreat and Mr. PepperCop steps back to the forefront dual wielding can's like a Rogue out of an MMO but wait! Fifty hands raise up holding not signs but video cameras, IPods, IPads, recording devices of every kind and Mr. PepperCop stops dead in his tracks, decides retreat is the better part of cowardice and continues retreating with his fellow cops. These devices become an extension if not a part of the students involved in this incident. Multiple boundaries are dissolved at this moment: power dynamics, human/machine, device intended usage/ immediate utility, etc... I divert to this example because this is what is being spoken of (albeit not specifically gender) on a social/boundary level that is taking place centrally to our lives.


  1. Devices like these become extension very very soon. Is this good?

  2. Smartphones and such have given us a lot, and we treat them as a person almost. Others may view it as a threat but I, for one, can't wait until the day I pay all my bills, have all my ID's and keep all my balances on my phone.

  3. @crazyneo: Japan and a few other countries already do this and more. I think the threat comes from how its used/misused. In this case I think it was very empowering to the students.

  4. As with any form of technological advance, there will always be negatives as well as positives. It's important though to always move forward.

  5. I remember seeing this on the news, of course it was blown out of proportion and mad the students look like terrorists...