Haraway uses the metaphor of cyborg identity to expose ways that things considered natural, like human bodies, are not, but are constructed by our ideas about them. This has particular relevance to feminism, since Haraway believes women are often
Donna Haraway: An Overview of The Cyborg Manifesto
Social Construction A New Frontier: Haraway calls for responsible bridges between humans and machines (technology) Sociotechnical factors along with human interactions affect human associations and the direction that endeavors in knowledge making take. How do individuals and groups participate in the construction of their perceived social reality? Social constructionism argues that social phenomena are created, institutionalized, known and made into convention through human habit. Social phenomena include social organization, knowledge, technologies, artifacts, and the characteristic materiality of cultures.
Cyborgs Haraway conceives of cyborgs as realities. Cyborgs are socially constructed hybrids of machines and organisms. Cyborgs live in borderlands – or productive space intended for knowledge building. Haraway uses the image and myth (or story)of the cyborg to argue for the construction of one’s consciousness or responsibility, particularly with respect to newer technologies.
The Borderlands Productive places where negotiations of knowledge building take place What does one care about? Ones concerns open up borderlands. Haraway raises the questions: What matters personally in biographical terms, political terms, and emotionally? In other words, What does onecare about and what does that tell me?
Borderlands: Caring and Connections Haraway points out that: Opening borderlands is essential to being open to possibilities and worldly. Connections arise out of the relationship with what one feels is important and personal.
Worldliness and Isolation Everything that one cares about makes one more worldly. Worldly relates to what one cares about or connects to and this connection leads to a multiplicity of other connections and their development. If what one cares about, isolates them, the question becomes: Is this good for one and, if so, how does one deal with that isolation?
Boundaries Relates to connections Everything in the world is linked It is crucial to view entities within their network of connections – in an open, fluid, and indistinct semiotic flow Alexander McQueen’s Cyborg
Three Critical Breakdowns Transgression in the boundary between human and animal Affirmation of connection between human & other living creatures Ambiguity in distinctions among animal-human-machine Uncertainty of what one accepts as nature Boundary between physical and non-physical is imprecise Machines and microelectric devices are everywhere and invisible.
Cyborg: A Conceptual Hybrid Creatures simultaneously animal and machine who live in ambiguous, crafted worlds. Cyborgs map social and body reality – like Foucault’s biopolitics. The social and body reality is an imaginative resource, an open field – an open text Cyborg’s are one’s ontology: A postmodern, socially constructed sense of being
Partiality and Cyborgs Argues for situated, localized knowledge – not universality – provides the conditions for responsible knowledge claims. Represents the interdependence of people Machines are aspects of our embodiment – as such Haraway emphasizes the need for responsible relations with machines. The cyborg represents a way out of the labyrinth of Western, patriarchal views and its dualism
Floating Signifiers The Cyborg myth is about boundaries, fusions and risky possibilities in borderlands. It is everything about caring and taking responsibility for the relationships such concern creates. Cyborgs are transformative – they encourage the construction of identity in a partial, fragmented and contradictory world.
The Situated Cyborg Social relations of new technologies are reformulations of expectations, culture, work, and reproduction for the large scientific and technical work-force. Danger – lack of control for high-tech repressive apparatuses ranging from entertainment to surveillance – culture of video games and sci-fi escape. Speaks to a critical need for privileged women to address scientific-technical discourses and processes in a conscious and responsible way.