Donna Haraway, in A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century casts the role of technology' in two opposing lights: on the one hand, technology is seen as something women should (indeed must) embrace as a motivator for political and social progress; on the other hand, technology is seen as another method of control, a way to dominate women in various idealized spaces. Technology functions to mediate the impact of social relations within the Home, the Market', the Paid Work Place, the State, and the School. At the center of this contradictory significance of technology as both (1) a catalyst for social and political progress' and (2) a method of control' is the image of the cyborg: a being that embraces (as opposed to dissolves) the contradictions necessary to its character. The point is for women to start thinking of themselves as cybernetic in the sense that cybernetic organisms are differentially constructed out of mutually exclusive (i.e. fractured) identities.
[...] Haraway's critique of essentialism in socialist and radical feminisms Haraway advances cyborg feminism by way of caricaturizing the apparently inconsistent theories of socialist feminism and radical feminism. The implications of her interpretation can be summed up in the following way: Socialist feminism: labor is a function of its analogy to reproduction, its reference to sex, and its addition in race Radical feminism: sexual appropriation is a function of its analogy to labour, its reference to reproduction, and its addition in race. The most apparent anomaly in each case is the mere ‘addition of race' as a possible factor in either wage labor or sexual appropriation: it's as if race was an after thought to the identity of women. [...]
[...] One such constraint is that cyborg feminism must NOT rely on a logic of appropriation, incorporation, and taxonomic identification.” Another such constraint is that cyborg feminists have to argue against the idea of a “natural matrix of unity” and in doing so oppose any semblance of innocence (innocence means origin, and the cyborg is wholly lacking that) and its corollary: victimhood. Revising social relations in terms of science and technology Haraway's motive in critiquing the socialist and radical feminisms is not merely to exercise critique; rather the critique informs how cyborg feminism could fully embrace both Marxist and radical feminism to the fullness of their opposition. The awareness of the epistemological constraint on cyborg feminism to understand the difficult-to-spot difference between ‘playful differences' and ‘systematically oppressive differences' proliferates an analysis of domination that takes seriously the polymorphic character of social relations tied to science/technology and is rooted in claims about fundamental changes in the nature of class, race, and gender in an emerging system of world order analogous in its novelty and scope to that created by industrial capitalism.” In order for cyborg feminism to make good on the use of technology as a way to change undesirable and/or detrimental political and social conditions, feminist theorists must rethink how it is that problems are to be framed. [...]
[...] Thus it makes no sense to speak of a given technology as either (inherently) useful or detrimental to the social progress of feminism: cyborg feminism must operate on the idea that design principles can be as effective at communicating new social parameters as they are at maintaining existing social parameters. The trick is for feminists to understand to read' problems such that they are intelligible as ‘problems of information' and not ‘problems that resist translatability'. The upshot of this is that biopolitics no longer is a function of epistemological and social identities; instead, the social and political instantiation of cybernetic semiologies is determinative of what counts as biopolitics (insofar as a cybernetic politics simulates biopolitics). The biopolitical analysis of women's situations amounts to the ways in which women are coded as “disassembled and reassembled”—the self is collective and personal where in traditional ‘Western' ontological dualisms women could be identified in the private sphere only at the expense of their public life (and vice-versa). [...]
[...] Their fathers, after all, are inessential.” It is the precisely this ‘unfaithful' quality to cyborg feminism that makes room for the possibility of embracing technology while avoiding its use for patriarchal purposes. Of course the availability of this powerful metaphor was not the result of arbitrary conditions. Haraway suggests three ‘breakdowns' that were necessary for her “political-fictional” account to be possible at all. These breakdowns include: No qualitative difference between human and animal: boundary between human and animal has been thoroughly breached The dissolution of distinction between organisms and machines: “Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed [et cetera Ontological dualism between physical and non-physical is no longer viable: there is no precise way to differentiate ‘physical' from ‘non-physical' substance. The first breakdown is the result of the articulation and projection of biology and in particular of the theory of evolution. [...]
[...] Haraway Haraway Haraway Haraway Haraway Haraway explains that these ‘consequences' are on the right subject but not on the right track (i.e. not framing the subject in a way that makes the source of these implications visible). Haraway This latest point is either implicit or at least consistent with Haraway's discussion of the miniaturization of mechanism. See Haraway, 153- 154 for details. Haraway Haraway Haraway Haraway (Haraway, 160) presents the structure of her interpretation of socialist and radical feminisms in the following way: “socialist feminism structure of class//wage labour//alientation labour, by analogy reproduction, by extension [...]
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