Reading: A Cyborg Manifesto

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We are living in an interconnected and interdependent world where the mediation between the physical space and human beings takes place through technological / digital networks, which can be thought of as extensions of our bodily and mental abilities. Technology transforms our relationship with space and time, the ways we live in society and our own subjectivities. Whether modifying or not our biological components, we are becoming new entities with capacity for transformative action. In ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, Donna Haraway uses the figure of the cyborg as a metaphor to analyze this relationship between human beings and technology from a feminist perspective, writing about its social potential linked to emancipation and identity.

A cyborg is a hybrid of a machine and an animal human organism, a creature invented by science fiction that today has become a part of our individual and collective reality. As Haraway writes, when organic and inorganic are mixed into this new subject, it loses its roots, culture and gender identity. Since it is composed by variable pieces, this new creature can reinvent and modify itself every time it wants, living in a constant state of change. In this sense it can develop a new society that has nothing to do with Western or patriarchal ideals.

The cyborg knows that it is always ‘incomplete’. It is an ‘other’, and therefore it can identify itself with many ‘others’: men, women, homosexuals, ethnic and racial minorities, animals. It has the possibility to free itself from any kind of hegemonic belief, but at the same time it can create a fractured image of itself. These ideas can generate feel both fear and attraction about what we are becoming as individuals and as a society. However, it can make us understand that technology, as a human creation, is not inherently bad or good. Its effect on our lives will depend on how we appropriate it, or how we modify it to create new uses and behaviors. Thus, we have to think of this cyborg identity as something that we have to take responsibility in order to change society, ourselves and the way we live in the future.

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