Notes on: Haraway. D. (2016) A Cyborg Manifesto. Science, Technology, and Socialist – Feminism in the Late 20th Century. University of Minnesota Press.

Dave Harris

The idea is to develop an 'ironic political myth' (5), from within the traditions of US politics. At the centre is the blasphemous image of the cyborg. Social reality is lived social relations, a construction. Feminists have focused on women's experience, consciousness as liberation, but the cyborg changes what counts as women's experience. There is no boundary between science-fiction and social reality.

Science Fiction has lots of cyborgs, so does modern medicine, there is even cyborg sex to complicate heterosexism. Replication is not the same as organic reproduction. Modern production is a dream, compared to which Taylorism seems idyllic. Modern war is a 'cyber orgy' (6). It is an imaginative resource. It makes Foucault's biopolitics 'a flaccid premonition of cyborg politics' (7).

In the late 20th century we are all 'chimeras, theorised and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism', cyborgs. It is a condensed image of both imagination and reality. The relation between organism and machine is normally a border war in Western science, which is also racist, male dominated, binary and the rest, turning on territory, but this essay argues the pleasure in confused boundaries and for 'responsibility in their construction'. It is an attempt to contribute to socialist feminism in post-modernism. Cyborgs are outside of salvation history, nor is it a form of progress to heal the cleavages of gender. Non-Oedipal narratives can still have 'a different logic of repression' however (8).

Cyborgs belong in a post gender world. It is not bisexual, pre-Oedipal, and alienated labour or some kind of lapsed organic wholeness. It has no actual origin story, but it might be the final 'awful apocalyptic telos' of Western domination, a final stage of 'abstract individuation' free of all dependency. There is no original unity, however from which we split as from a phallic mother, developed in both psychoanalysis and Marxism, for H Klein. There is no original unity or identification with nature with the cyborg. Instead, it is 'resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity' (9). It is oppositional and utopian. It is not innocent. It reworks nature and culture. It puts at issue the relation between wholes and parts, including polarities and domination. It is not associated with the dream of community, and some return to dust. Cyborgs are not reverent. They need connection but are wary of holism. Unfortunately, they were produced originally from 'militarism and patriarchal capitalism' (9), but luckily they have proved unfaithful to their origins.

So a number of boundaries are broken down, and we can trace them in this 'political – fictional (political – scientific)' (10) account. Humans are no longer separated from animals, except via the culture of amusement parks (?). All the old distinctions 'language, tool use, social behaviour, mental events' no longer work. Connecting humans and nonhumans can even be pleasurable. Animal rights recognise the need for a connection. Biology and evolutionary theory see modern organisms as objects of knowledge, with the boundary with humans reduced to 'a faint trace re-etched in ideological struggle or professional disputes'. She sees Christian creationism 'as a form of child abuse'. Earlier scientific explanations can now be seen as ideology. The breached boundary requires more appreciation of the pleasures of 'tight coupling', a new status for 'bestiality'.

The second boundary to be broken is between organic and machinic. Pre-cybernetic machines often looked haunted with a ghost still in the machine. Materialism was related to idealism in various ways. Machines were not seen as autonomous, not 'an author'(11). Now it is much more ambiguous — machines are more lively while we are 'frighteningly inert'. It is conventional to grasp the issues through debates about technological determination, but this is only one way to think the new relations. Instead we can see it in terms of 'the play of writing and reading the world', althoughTextualisation has been seen as utopian and ignoring domination. The disappearance of boundaries has disrupted the idea of organic wholes, but we can now no longer be sure what counts as nature. And this means 'transcendent authorisation of interpretation is lost' and with it conventional ontology. The alternative is not cynicism, however. We have to grasp politically what cyborgs will be, and how nonhumans have politics.

The boundary between the physical and nonphysical is also imprecise, quantum theory has become the equivalent of 'Harlequin romances as a marker of radical change in American white heterosexuality' (12) even if popular accounts get it wrong. [could be the prompt for Barad?]  Modern machines are microelectronic,  and have become irreverent upstarts. Writing now goes on on molecular scales on silicon chips. Miniaturisation has changed our experience of mechanism, and we now see it as 'preeminently dangerous' — it has had consequences for the ways in which machines used be produced. Modern machines are far more fluid than human beings, they are 'ether, quintessence'. Cyborgs are deadly because they are ubiquitous and invisible, hard to grasp politically, 'floating signifiers', opposed more effectively by  the women of the Greenham Camp than the traditional masculine militant labour. It now turns out that the hardest of silence is at the confused boundary. Cyborgs bring with them a dream of post-industrial society, which might include shifting work to women in Asia: they also bring the best hope for effective opposition.

The Cyborg myth is about transgression, fusion and possibilities. Most American socialists and feminists still operate with dualisms of the kind above, from Marcuse onwards. Technics seemed dominant and have to be resisted. Worldwide domination is acute, but there might be a new way to contest its meanings, to seek both power and pleasure in technology.

One perspective suggests that the cyborg world is the final grid of control, the first stage of final masculinist wars. Another, suggests new relived 'social and bodily realities'(15), where people gladly adopt 'partial identities and contradictory standpoints'. Cyborgs are monsters and illegitimate, ideal 'myths for resistance and re-coupling'. [She gives some lovely examples including one of a group called Fission Impossible offering a kind of loose and broad front affinity group addressing political consequences of nonconformity].

Feminism is now difficult to pin down, especially since feminists are aware that naming often leads to exclusion. Identities now seem contradictory, even strategic. Class race and gender are no longer essential, they no longer bind people together. Just being female actually is an achievement produced by contradictory social realities. It makes talking about us particularly difficult. Feminism itself is fragmented. Those like her, white professional middle class female and radicals, find it particularly challenging. There have been endless splits and new unities. Now there are new possibilities 'affinity, not identity' (17)
Sandoval, for example talks about a coalition based on '"oppositional consciousness"', a coalition of those who realise how power works and have been refused stable membership of the usual categories. 'Women of colour' is a contested identity, but also an historical development in consciousness, a kind of post-modern identity, made out of otherness.. There is no longer any need for an essential criterion of identity: the group has grown through an 'appropriation of negation', and multiple negation as with Chicana, excluded from all the usual categories. Now it is possible to maintain differences while affirming historical identities, in a 'self-consciously constructed space', not a natural identification, conscious affinity, no naturalisation. This is one possible response to colonialist discourse, which dissolves the old boundaries between the West and its assumptions of supremacy compared to an Orientalism. 'Women of colour' can bridge this old division.

King talks about the mechanics of identification 'built into reading "the poem"' (19) in cultural feminism, as a response to attempts to 'taxonomise the women's movement' and see it as some whole that transcends particular tendencies. It has also produced a picture of a constant ideological struggle among different types of feminism like radical, liberal and socialist. These taxonomies in effect 'police deviation' from official women's experience. [I think the argument is] that women's culture instead is produced by 'mechanisms of affinity'(20) which include rituals in the arts and academic practice [including poetry] — so we want 'a poetic/political unity' without rigid identities and taxonomies. This will reject all organic or natural standpoints, including patriarchal ones. Socialist or Marxist feminists have also clung on too long to an epistemological strategy at the expense of possible unities — perhaps all epistemologies 'fail us in the task to build elective affinities'.

Here, the 'acid tools of post-modernist theory' and ontological discourse about revolutionary subjects have helped, somewhat ironically. We are now aware that we have 'a historically constituted body' (20 – 21). We are no longer innocent, but not guilty either. We need a new politics embracing the partial and the contradictory — which also needs to be 'ironically, socialist – feminist'.

Political unity is more important than ever. A new kind of unity is now possible because none of the categories can dominate the shape of reality. White women had to realise this and to accept that they had been denatured. Cyborg feminists do not want another matrix of unity or construction of a whole. Nor do we want 'innocence, and the corollary  insistence on victimhood as the only ground for insight' (21). There are no new possibilities to weave other identities.

Marxist and radical feminisms have both naturalised and denatured the category of woman. Caricaturing a bit, Marxism is rooted in an analysis of wage labour that reveals class structure, so that abstraction and illusion rule with domination. Labour is the privileged category to overcome illusion, and it is humanising. Socialist feminism allies itself with these analytic strategies, while expanding the category of labour to include what women did. The concept of labour maintained a unity among women, but this was also an 'essentialising move' (23). It also incorporates a 'preeminently Western self'. It did help denaturalise the issues though.

McKinnon's version of radical feminism is best understood as a caricature of existing 'totalising tendencies' grounding identity. Her theory erased all policed difference. It turned on a theory of experience and women's identity that became 'a kind of apocalypse for all revolutionary standpoints'. Unity was only achieved by referring to experience of some power for 'radical nonbeing' (24). This overcame humanist views, 'but at the cost of radical reductionism', seeing sex or gender as a generative relationship producing male appropriation of women. This referred to some strange nonbeing, where desire and identity is not the product of labour. This is an arbitrary view of consciousness and women's experience — 'anything that names sexual violation, indeed, sex itself as far as "women" can be concerned' (24). Feminists have to construct this form of consciousness, come to knowledge of this 'self – who – is – not'. Sexual objectification arises from the structure of sex or gender, and this produces illusion and abstraction. However woman 'in a deep sense does not exist as a subject' since she owes existence as a woman to 'sexual appropriation' following the desire of men. This is a totalising theory which effectively obliterates anyone else's political speech or action. McKinnon might be right to say that Marxism is inadequate to ground women's unity, but this is 'an even more authoritarian doctrine of experience'. All difference among women has been erased, seen as non-essential. We have to see all activity and labour as sexualised, reproduction as exclusively rooted in sex.

Both varieties do not see themselves as partial. This is conventional in the West. Each annexed other forms of domination by expanding its basic categories 'through analogy, simple listing, or addition', while keeping silent about race. Taxonomies attempted to domesticate polyvocality [there is a summary diagram of the 'caricature' of difference between the two feminisms page 26].

Kristeva argued that women only appeared as an historical group along with others, like youth, after the Second World War. She reminds us that race did not always exist, nor class, nor homosexuals. The old symbolic system has broken down as networks of connection among people have multiplied [shades of Durkheim on moral density] calling this advanced capitalism or even the West is no longer adequate [in Marxist feminism]. There is a whole anxiety about the end of human existence with this disintegration, among women as well, and this might have prompted essentialist theory. However, it also shows 'unreflective participation in the logics, languages, and practices of white humanism' (27), searching for a single ground for domination. Now we risk its opposite 'boundless difference' without any attempt to make partial or real connections. Some differences are playful, some are engaged in domination: '"epistemology" is about knowing the difference'.

There could be a possible unity requiring worldwide social relations tied to science and technology change. She sees it as a movement 'from an organic industrial society to a polymorphous information system', and has a chart of transitions (27 – 29). The new version is 'the Informatics of domination'. We cannot see the key categories in either case as naturalistic. We can't go back ideologically. Everything has changed with microelectronics. We now need to think not in terms of essential [biological] properties but things like 'boundary constraints, rates of flow, systems logics'(30). Sexual reproduction is just one kind of strategy among many. Ideologies of sexual reproduction can no longer rely on sex or sex role as organic practices in natural objects [even porn suggests that].

haraway table

We need to understand race in terms not of parameters like blood groups or IQ scores, let alone categories like primitive. Instead, there is a new emphasis on '"experimental ethnography"', where organic factors give way to 'attention to the play of writing' (31) which includes racist and colonialist transformations into development and underdevelopment. There are no natural architectures any more, even with the distribution of financial districts or free-trade zones. All can 'now be formulated as problems in communications engineering (for the managers) or theories of the text (for those who would resist)' — 'cyborg semiologies'.

We will increasingly expect control to focus on things like boundaries and interfaces, rates of flow, not on defending the boundaries of natural objects. Preserving the Western self will now be a matter of decision procedures and expert systems. For example reproductive technology for women is considered in terms of population control and goal achievement — rates, constraints, degrees of freedom. Humans see themselves increasingly as 'localised in a system architecture' (32), operating with probabilities. There are no sacred objects, no boundaries beyond an interconnecting code. This is an extension of the universalism of capitalism analysed by Marx. Similarly, there is a particular 'privileged pathology': 'stress — communications breakdown'. The cyborg is not controlled by Foucault's biopolitics but by simulated politics [the cyborg simulates politics is actually how she puts it] which is 'much more potent'.

Inadequacies in feminist analysis appear, if they are based on the old dualisms. They have now been 'cannibalised' since all the dichotomies are now in question. The actual situation of women turns on their integration or exploitation into a world system of production reproduction and communication — 'the Informatics of domination' (33) there are no protected spheres any more, but new and emerging consequences for growing interfaces. The social relations of science and technology need to be urgently addressed — 'the cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, post-modern collective and personal self. This is the self feminists must code'

Communications technologies and biotechnologies are re-crafting our bodies and embodying new social relations. We can understand them as 'frozen moments ...of fluid social interactions' but also as instruments to enforce meanings, as much as do myths — 'indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other'.

There is a search for a common language, a code, implementing full instrumental control and reducing all heterogeneity to 'disassembly, reassembly, investment, and exchange' (34). Cybernetics and feedback control systems theories are increasingly applied. The key questions are defined in terms of direction and flow of information. Information is a 'quantifiable element' that permits universal translation and thus 'unhindered instrumental power (called effective communication)'. There is a metaphor — C3 I 'command — control — communication — intelligence' which also happens to be a military symbol for operation theory.

Translation of problems into coding is seen in modern biology, molecular genetics evolutionary theory and immunobiology. Instead of organisms as objects of knowledge, we are now researching 'biotic components, i.e. special kinds of information processing devices'(35). The ecology is modelled as a system, immunobiology involves coding and recognition systems that construct bodily reality. 'Biology here is a kind of cryptography'. There are still problems as system stress leads to communication breakdown. Differences between self and other are also breaking down, as with animal transplants into humans, or in apparently socially focused immune system diseases.

There is also a 'mundane, largely economic reality' to support the claim of change. Communication technologies and their effects which range from welfare state administration to pornography and religious evangelism. Microelectronics produce simulacra — 'copies without originals' (36). They also translate labour into advanced technologies, redesigning materials and processes. Above all 'the difference between machine and organism is thoroughly blurred', there is multinational production and reproduction and increasingly common 'symbolic organisation of the production and reproduction of culture and imagination'. The boundaries between base and superstructure, public private, material and ideal are 'feeble'. Grossman shows how women are particularly affected. There is no technological determinism, but instead 'social relations of science and technology'. Latour is right to insist that these analyses require attention, and there are clear implications for socialist feminism in the 'rearrangements of race, sex, and class' especially in those 'rooted in high-tech-facilitated social relations'.

There is also a new worldwide working class, new sexualities and ethnicities. Capital is globally mobile. Familiar groupings are weakened. There are implications for gender and race. White men are probably now more vulnerable to job loss, while women are perhaps more employable, especially in electronics. There is a wider picture, such as changes in the life of high skilled women in technology, and how they manage their existing and more remote kin and community in a 'microcosm of conflicting differences' for example in Silicon Valley. Gordon calls this 'the "homework economy"' (38) meaning a restructuring of work that is broadly female. Feminisation of work increases vulnerability, including vulnerability to changes in time spent in work as well as contract. This makes women even more out of place. There is large-scale deskilling, although new areas of skill are also emerging. Above all 'factory, home, and market are integrated on a new scale' centred on women their relations and differences. There has been an accompanying attack on privileged white male unionised jobs. All this is made possible by '(not caused by)' (39) new technologies. Results include impact on family wages and the growth of capital intensive jobs; there is also a collapse in the welfare state with increased demand on women to sustain daily life. There is 'feminisation of poverty' because wages are still not seen as equal. Women heading households is more common. These developments offer a better integration with capitalism — for example the particular pressures on American black women, or teenage women in the Third World who are now the main source of cash wages.

Jameson's three stages with three aesthetic periods for capitalism can also grasp how specific forms of families are 'dialectically' related to these developments. There might be several types, schematically: (1) patriarchal nuclear family, with a split between public and private and the 'white bourgeois ideology of separate spheres' (41); (2) the modern family supported partly by welfare state and family wages, developing 'a-feminist heterosexual ideologies' including those in Greenwich Village; (3) the modern family with women headed households, and 'explosion of feminisms', and a 'paradoxical intensification and erosion of gender itself'. This is the context in which worldwide structural unemployment will have an effects with the development of robotics and other technologies, and as offices become automated. American black women already can see the results on black men '("feminisation")'. Sexuality family and community life have changed, and differences between white and black women emphasised. 'Cross gender and race alliances' will be necessary 'on issues of basic life support (with or without jobs)' (42).

There are worldwide issues, including hunger and food production, much of it still in the hands of women without high-tech. Gender relations have been affected, including by 'differential gender migration patterns'. There is wider privatisation — militarisation, right wing family ideologies, increased links between corporate and private property. Communication technology eradicates '"public life"' which strengthens 'the high-tech military establishment'(42) especially against women. Technology penetrates private life with video games and TV, and these are oriented to competition and warfare and provide 'gendered imaginations'. Technology has also permitted tourism to emerge as an industry — 'that perfect practice of mobility and exchange' (43). Some right-wing accounts of social relations have emerged, such as 'socio-biological origin stories' with their inevitable male domination. The body is seen as a biotic component or communication system. New medical technologies have changed the boundaries of women's bodies including practically producing new feminist politics. Especially sinister are technologies of visualisation which 'recall the important cultural practice of hunting with the camera and the deeply predatory nature of a photographic consciousness' (44). (N 24 refers to her own work on the link between hunting with guns and cameras for American males]

There is a danger of technology producing a divided social structure, core and periphery. Feminists must urgently address what role women can have in the 'production of knowledge imagination and practice', and how this can be turned into progressive political movements. It's partly a matter of accountability [more like solidarity]. Can there be an antimilitary action group for example, uniting Silicon Valley hippies and women of different ethnic groups?

The place of women used to be understood best in terms of the 'distinction of public and private domains', (45) with an accompanying division of gender into personal and political. Instead of dichotomies, a network with a 'profusion of spaces and identities' and permeable boundaries is now more suitable, and we can pick up on networking as a strategy of solidarity.

We can trace out the specifics by looking at different women places — 'home, market, paid workplace, state, school, clinic – hospital, and church' (46). They might be linked to each other as in 'a holographic photograph'. Each can help us see the impact of technology on social relations. None of them are exclusively places for women, but the differences and contradictions are crucial to 'women's cyborg identities'. Tracing networks might also lead to new coalitions. There is no unitary self, and 'the task is to survive in the diaspora' (46)

[And then more detailed analysis of women's relations in these various places — in homes we find among others women- headed households, old women alone, electronic cottage industries, and domestic violence. In markets we find increasing consumption powerful women, affluent markets, commodification of experience, and the sexualisation of consumption. In paid work places we find sexual and racial divisions of labour although there are also growing 'privileged occupational categories', technological impact on clerical service work, new working arrangements to integrate with the home, still two-tiered labour structures, increasing marginalisation. The state offers continuing erosion of the welfare state, increased surveillance and control, militarisation, reduction of civil service jobs, more high-tech forms of personal and public life, 'citizenship by telematics' (48). In school public education is penetrated by high-tech capital, still 'differentiated by race, class and gender', there are managerial reforms, 'growing antiscience mystery cults', relative scientific illiteracy, industrialisation of higher education, and a highly educated elite in a divided society. In clinics or hospitals we have 'intensified machine – body relations' (49) intensified reproductive politics, new diseases, struggles over meanings and meaning of health, feminisation of health work, popular health movements in American politics. In the church we have 'electronic fundamentalist "supersaver" preachers', the continuing relevance of spirituality and an increasing potential to resist the militarised state.]

Overall, there is an informatics of domination as an 'intensification of insecurity and cultural impoverishment' (49), a collapse of substance networks for the most vulnerable, and thus an urgent need for socialist feminist politics, for example developing forms of collective struggle, new involvement in labour organisation 'involving community, sexuality and family issues' (50). We need not be fully depressed by the implications. Marxists get depressed over what looks like the spread of false consciousness, but if we look at women's point of view in particular, there is often 'virulent forms of oppression, nostalgically naturalised'. Marxists need a more subtle understanding of the pleasures experiences and powers of the new forms. There are also new emerging bases for unity across race gender and class. Hardship has intensified worldwide, although it is still difficult to explain this experience and build collective models of it.

She sees herself as an Irish Catholic girl with a PhD in biology, whose entry to university followed the impact of Sputnik on science education policy. She is 'as much constructed' by the Cold War as by the women's movement. This shows the contradictory effects of politics — those aimed at producing loyal American technocrats also produced 'large numbers of dissidents' (51).

Feminist politics is inevitably limited by the 'permanent partiality of feminist points of view', but it should not aim at some totality, some perfect way to name experience, which would be 'totalising and imperialist' (52). Nor can contradictions be resolved by dialectics. Instead 'we can learn from our fusions with animals and machines how not to be Man, the embodiment of Western Logos'. There is pleasure in 'potent and taboo fusions', and this might even produce a feminist science.

She ends with a story about identity and boundaries, drawn on accounts of high-tech worlds written by 'theorists for cyborgs (53) '. They include Mary Douglas showing the link between body imagery, worldview and political language. There is Irigaray and Wittig on the erotic cosmological and political images of embodiment. American radical feminists have changed our political imaginations, by opposing the organic to the technological, drawing on ecofeminism, and feminist paganism. It all makes better sense as an oppositional ideology to capitalism. Other possibilities of the breakdown of boundaries between organism and machine  include trying to learn from 'personal and political "technological" pollution' in feminist science fiction.

Women of colour might be seen as a cyborg identity, a fusion of outsider identities sedimented together in various 'political – historical layerings' (54), mapped in various material and cultural grids. There is a novel by Lorde — Sister Outsider — who is an 'offshore woman', treated as an enemy by American workers, and when brought nshore she shows a potential rapidly exploited by the need for a manipulable workforce, especially in the science-based industries. So young Korean women are both in the sex industry and in electronics assembly, and are very often highly literate, in contrast to the usual 'Orientalist stereotypes'. Literacy is actually a 'special mark of women of colour', the education often achieved at some cost. Writing is also crucial. The usual myth distinguishes oral and written cultures in terms of primitive and civilised, until recently challenged [by Derrida --yes and Levi-Strauss and others?]. Writing by women of colour is now part of contemporary political struggle, helping to develop the notion of power that is 'neither phallic nor innocent'(55). Cyborg writing must not revert to a story of the Fall. It should focus on the power to survive, using tools that mark them as other in reverse.

These tools are stories, different versions, sometimes origin stories. They can 'subvert the central myths of origin of Western culture' which have dominated all of us, especially 'a longing for fulfilment in Apocalypse'. These phallocentrism stories are built into technology, including microelectronics that have helped to textualise our bodies. The point is to recode 'communication and intelligence to subvert command and control'. (56). As examples of contemporary writing by women of colour, there is work on Chicana identity [in Moraga] where the poetry is 'the same kind of violation as Malinche's [the heroine] mastery of the Conqueror's language', illegitimate but allowing survival, 'self-consciously spliced'with other remnants, a 'chimeric monster' not claiming an origin. Sister Outsider lives on the boundaries. She affirms her own identity rather than taking on the categories of the coloniser. She was some early earth mother. [Looks like an early example guiding Barad on Anzaldua — rather better -- same conference?]

Cyborgs struggle for language, 'against perfect communication, against the one code', the 'central dogma of phallogocentrism' (57). They value noise and pollution, and 'illegitimate fusions of animal and machine', problematising conventional sexual divisions, and the dominant notion of desire. This subverts the whole notion of Western identity and its origins, nature and culture, body and mind. It is a necessary response to liberal politics and epistemology, especially individualistic versions.

There is no intention to assume arrival privileged position or some original innocents. This sort of work can revitalise feminism and Marxism still based on Western imperatives, trying to construct a revolutionary subject from analysis of the conventional hierarchy and from moral superiority, even 'greater closeness to nature'. There is no original communism or common language, no 'finally privileged reading or salvation history'. Politics does not have to be rooted in these identities all parties, or some notion of purity. Instead, 'the "bastard" race' values the margins and earth mothers, literate, teaching survival.

This is not just literary deconstruction. It aims to undermine every notion of original innocents, return to wholeness, individuation separation and the birth of the self, the fall into alienation. All these are 'reproductive politics' (59) assuming some perfect rebirth. They all assume women are somehow weaker, less of a self, less autonomous. A better route passes through [actual] women and illegitimate cyborgs who refuse ideological victimisation and opt for a real-life. They are not threatened with disappearance in industrialisation, not of primitive or organic group. Instead they are 'actively rewriting the texts of their bodies and societies' [the references to some women in electronics industries [a note refers to a conference for women of colour at Michigan October 85]. They break dualisms, especially those involved in domination of others [the usual list], where the self is simply the one is not dominated, but who controls: however, even this self knows about the dependence on others, the illusion of autonomy. To openly celebrate otherness is 'to be multiple' (60).

High-tech culture challenges dualisms as well, for example the one between humans and machines, so that it is no longer clear what is mind and what is body. Both formal academic disciplines and daily practice recognise this blurring: biological organisms have now become communication devices, while films like Blade Runner offer a fictional version. We feel more connected to our tools as a result as in 'the trance state experienced by many computer users'. Paraplegics and others can also experience 'complex hybridisation with other communications devices' (61), as in a McCaffrey novel. Machines can be animated and organisms mechanised, and the distinction between them is now redundant. We can imagine machines as 'prosthetic devices, intimate components, friendly selves', in a way which gives us a sense of 'impermeable wholeness' just as in 'organic holism'.

Katie King has written things like The Female Man, which do not rely on the pleasures of identification, or some search for innocent wholeness, heroic quests and the like. It is about four versions of one genotype, which are not united in a whole, but which resolve various dilemmas of moral action or 'the growing scandal of gender'. She is as challenging as any modernist writer. Samuel Delany also mocks stories of origin. James Tiptree was seen originally as a classically male author until she was revealed as not: she writes apparently about non-mammalian technologies in reproduction like 'male brood pouches'. John Varley creates a cyborg as a supreme being and she is 'a mad goddess – planet – trickster – old woman – technological – device' capable of symbolises. Octavia Butler talks about African sorceresses in time warps — one leads to a modern American black woman going back into slavery. Another one involves how humanity might be transferred through genetic exchange with extraterrestrials lovers [Dawn, 1987]. McIntyre writes a novel where no one is simply human, there are genetically altered people who can communicate with animals and who get bionic implants to achieve new jobs: their senses can change as well as a result. Her novel draws on feminist theory and colonial discourse.

Haraway has also offered readings of this particular piece Superluminal. Colonialism has been identified in science fiction previously, and McIntyre was actually a writer for Star Trek!.

The ancient Greeks had centaurs and Amazons who were disruptive and polluting. Early modern France had unseparated twins and hermaphrodites who were able to refer both to natural and supernatural discourses. In evolutionary and behavioural science, monkeys and apes occupy 'multiple boundaries'(65) .

Cyborgs should not simply be identified as enemies, because our own bodies resemble them as 'maps of power and identity'. Cyborgs remind us that they are not innocent do not seek unitary identity, do not occupy 'antagonistic dualisms without ends' and take 'irony for granted'. They take pleasure in skill including 'machine skill'. They are not just animated by us, 'the machine is us'. We are responsible for boundaries, however, but there used to be a fixed one between females and males: being out of place in those terms involves intense pleasure, and has even helped seeing relations with machines as organic, 'appropriate to females'. There is an overall picture of 'partial, fluid sometimes aspect of sex and sexual embodiment' (66).

We can even approach the feminist issue of what counts as every day experience. Some feminists say that women are much more integrated with daily life which gives them 'a privileged epistemological position potentially'. This does revalue female activity. However there is also female ignorance, failures of knowledge and skill. Men can also access daily competence in construction work or play. There might be other embodiments, including a cyborg agenda. They might be actually necessary to the other divisions: 'race, gender, and capital require a cyborg theory of wholes and parts' rather than a total theory. They tell us about experience of boundaries, construction and deconstruction, they offer a potential 'myth system waiting to become a political language', maybe even challenging the Informatics of domination.

Holistic politics based on organisms still depend on metaphors of rebirth, which necessarily involves reproductive sex. Cyborgs offer regeneration instead. Some animals regenerate limbs, sometimes in a monstrous form. All of us require 'regeneration not rebirth'(67), and we should all 'dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender'. Cyborg imagery helps here. First it denies the need for totalising theories which necessarily miss 'most of reality'. Second it takes responsibility for the social relations of science and technology, refusing any easy demonisation, and offering an engagement to reconstruct daily life. Of course science and technology offer human satisfaction as well as domination, and cyborg imagery can help break out of any dualism. We are not aiming for 'a common language' but rather a 'powerful infidel heteroglossia' (68), a 'feminist speaking in tongues to strike fear into the circuits of the super savers of the new right'. We must both build and destroy 'machines, identities, categories, relationships, space stories' — 'I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess'

[Extensive notes include a citation of Fausto-Sterling, n 3 (68). M5 says that Foucault described 'a form of power at its moment of implosion' and that biopolitics should now give way to 'technobabble'. N 10 acknowledges Trin Minh-ha as a Third World speaker helping to develop coalition politics. N 17 gives the original version of cyborg manifesto date of 1985

N 28 has  an abbreviated list of feminist science fiction underlying themes of this essay: Octavia Butler, Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Kindred, Survivor; Suzy McKee Charnas, Motherlines; Samuel R.Delany, the Nevèrÿon series; Anne McCaffery, The Ship Who Sang, Dinosaur Planet; Vonda McIntyre, Superluminal, Dreamsnake; Joanna Russ, Adventures of Alix, The Female Man; James Tiptree Jr., Star Songs of an Old
Primate, Up the Walls of the World; John Varley, Titan, Wizard, Demon.

N 31 acknowledges Derrida but also Lévi-Strauss and others.

social theory page