Accepted Paper:

Crafting companions and cyborgs: anger and attachment  


Kate O'Riordan (University of Sussex )

Paper short abstract:

The paper traces a partial examination of the cyborg manifesto as life writing; debates about the cyborg in the field; practices of cyborg writing; anger, rejection and reconfiguration (embryo and doppelganger); as well as its relation to life itself more broadly conceived.

Paper long abstract:

Crafting cyborgs and companions: anger and attachments

One of Haraway's most charismatic and widely traveled figures is that of the cyborg. It emerges as a figure in her writing in the 1980s and 1990s (1985, 1991, 1997) and enables important interventions in thinking about life and technology. The cyborg is a figure for thinking about lives as always, already technological and prosthetic. One of its gifts is that it offers a different way into this than technological evolutionism or the post-humanism of actor network theory. The cyborg is a singular figure, although in her work singularity is always multiple, and allows for thinking about the life of life story and technology (e.g. Henwood, Kennedy and Miller 2001).

The cyborg is a life writing technology, which, in its first instantiation (1985, 1981), enables a specific account of socio political historical context in which Star Wars, Sputnik, chip making and the transition of computers from people to machines are significant. The intervention that Haraway made historically in relation to science and technology studies has new purchase in relation to resurgent God tricks in materialist and (post)phenomenological approaches which have currency right now (e.g. Stiegler, 2013; Morton, 2013). The figure of the cyborg then and Haraway's sense of life as non-human-human entanglement remain potent interventions in the current moment. This paper revisits and examines Haraway's utopian writing about life and the technological through the cyborg by examining how it has traveled and the anger and attachments such crafting has generated.

Panel B09
Feminist figures: crafting intersections in theory and practice