part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh

Thoughts on Harraway’s The Cyborg Manifesto

Cyborg Manifesto  Wordle Many Eyes
This Wordle visualisation illustrates the strong (anti)feminist connection that come’s through in Donna Haraway’s essay “A Cyborg Manifesto”. Centrally Haraway’s cyborg world seems to be a device for abandonning the dualisms of (wo)man/machine, mind/body etc. The cyborg provides a predominantly individualist perspective that opens up thinking around different possibilities of being in particular through our relationships animals and machines. Haraway also uses the cyborg as a metaphor for exploring how humanity is interconnected and intertwinned with machines/technologies in complex interdependancies. This more holistic perspective starts to look a lot like being posthuman. So what is the difference between being a cyborg and being posthuman? Is it just a different perspective on similar ideas? For example I might consider my context as being coconstructed by technologies that permeate it and social norms aroung their use – the connections I make with other beings through wifi, the internet, the mobile phone network etc. (a posthuman perspective). My identity, who I am, is also is shaped by the technologies I choose to use and how I use them – my phone, my iPad (a cyborg perspective).

The cyborg metaphor helps to dissolve the subject/object perspective of our relationship with technology and thus empowers us. Instead of positioning ourselves as ‘victims’ or acted on by technology, (positions that arguably giving rise to the promise /threat, utopian/distopian binaries), we have through the cyborg myth, been given agency to imagine/coconstruct less polarised futures.

Posted by Geraldine May Jones on November 27th, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

One Response to “Thoughts on Harraway’s The Cyborg Manifesto”

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