Cyborg Manifesto

Donna Haraway In this pivotal text Haraway argues for an "ironic myth" of the cyborg as a way to dismantle distinct categories, which is enabled by late twentieth century technologies. She argues that these categories—masculine, feminine, human, machine, physical, non-physical, etc.—are made ambiguous through the technologies of the twentieth century. Haraway argues for a hybrid view of the world and identity built upon both science fiction and social realities. She offers her cyborg myth as a substitute for outdated, exclusionary, masculine narratives. The inorganic cyborg opens new conceptions of being that avoid traditional categories of domination. Even though computers and machinery emerge from epistemologies of code and control, Haraway finds potential for a new, liberating politics enabled by technology and hybridity. Hybridity combats hegemonic dualities, and opens new forms of being. Though somewhat dated, this essay still carries the potential of identity reformation through a consideration of relations as key in the individuating process. There is room for debate on whether or not the technologies of late twentieth century have enabled greater hybridity amongst individuals or more control by existing power structures. No doubt, examples of both instances can be found. However, the strength of the essay is the political potential Haraway finds in the inorganic affecting bodies taken up by society and individuals. I will use this text to describe the potential of technology's role in culture. While Simondon also writes of technological culture, his work comes before global movements of feminism, civil rights and queer theory (to name only a few important political movements). Simondon's ethics must be updated to include issues surrounding race, gender, sexuality and class biases. Haraway's continuing attempts to move away from dualism and into an era of the cyborg are continued in her more recent work and are, I believe, in line with Simondon's theories of individual, milieu and collective.