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Accepted Paper:

Kill the Law, Save the World  
Jacob Boss (Indiana University Bloomington)

Paper short abstract:

Cyberpunk resistance to 'homo deus' is jurispathic, law-destroying. Distinct from theological calls for humility and creatureliness, the liberatory cyberpunk telos of ‘no gods, no masters’ attacks both the nomos of technocrats and the networks of material dependencies they propagate.

Paper long abstract:

Cyberpunks resist technocratic ambitions to reengineer the human condition into an Olympian existence free from human limitations. Analyzing cyberpunk resistance using Robert Cover’s concept of the jurispathic shifts the conversation around homo deus away from technological boosterism versus theological objections grounded in humility and creatureliness. While technocrats take advantage of the nomos we inhabit and the laws that enforce it, they ultimately seek a divine existence beyond law. Working from ethnographies of anarchist, punk, libertarian, and anti-oppressive hackers, I argue there is a liberatory cyberpunk telos characterized by a ‘no gods, no masters’ approach that attacks both the nomos of technocrats and the networks of material dependencies they propagate. This liberatory telos is law-destroying in Cover’s sense; law is killed to make way for new law, reinforcing or contesting the nomos we inhabit. This is a generative pursuit, unlike the transcendence from law seen in the seekers of homo deus. Networks of material dependency funnel wealth, resources, and labor toward technocratic elites bent on manufacturing godhood, and are the nightmare obverse of our cybernetic reality. The reverse, the liberation-making and law-destroying cyborg, is best located not in Haraway, but in disabled organizing, activism, and scholarship. Cyborgs are developing extra-institutional alternative networks - biohackers working to make safe birth control manufacturable in every home, medical device hackers striving to make insulin and artificial pancreases widely available on open-source software - to undermine material and socio-legal systems of exploitation that feed the pursuers of homo deus.

Panel P30a
Becoming Gods: Techno-scientific and Other Deifications
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -