Life and the technological: cyborgs, companions and the chthulucene

O'Riordan, Kate (2019) Life and the technological: cyborgs, companions and the chthulucene. Auto/Biography Studies, 34 (3). pp. 387-402. ISSN 0898-9575

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Donna Haraway’s cyborg is a widely traveled figure with an important relation to life writing. This article traces the cyborg through modes of life writing and routes through feminist science fiction and science studies. It examines attachments and anger, looking at the return of the alienated cyborg in recent accounts of Haraway’s work. One of Donna Haraway’s most charismatic and widely travelled figures is that of the cyborg. It emerges as a figure in her writing in the 1980s and 1990s, and enables important interventions in thinking about lives as always already technological and prosthetic. One of its gifts is that it offers a different way into this than either technological evolutionism or the posthumanism of actor-network theory. The cyborg is a figure of specificity, of fiction but also of real-life couplings of technology and flesh, which are neither evolutionarily determined nor neutral but, in Haraway’s terms, are non-innocent encounters. The non-innocent relationality of the cyborg is posited as one of responsibility, which, in Haraway’s lexicon, evokes both an ability to respond to others and an ethics of encounter. The cyborg is a singular figure, although, in Haraway’s work, singularity is always multiple and allows for thinking about the life of life story and technology.1 The figure has generated strong attachments, multiple stories, and anger over the last thirty years. This article traces a partial examination of the manifesto as life writing, and surveys debates about and practices of cyborg life writing, including autobiography and fiction. It examines the possibilities of the cyborg, including anger, rejection, and reconfiguration (as embryo and doppelg€anger), as well as its relation to life itself more broadly conceived.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: cyborg; life writing; cyborg embryo; feminist science studies
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Humanities Lab
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Kate O'Riordan
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 16:50
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2021 01:00

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