PHIL 2550G University of Western Ontario Haraway Reflection Paper

Reflection Question for this Week: Haraway says “the machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment.” (p. 99) So, if we are heavily living in a social reality of gender social constructions doesn’t that mean our technology will ultimately have those too? Do we have to change so that our technology changes or can a technology that is aimed at going beyond gender or being genderless change us first?  Offer your position and support it.

  • Related links:
  • You are a cyborg:
  • Feminist Cyborg Scholar Donna Haraway:
  • Chela Sandoval:
  • Monique Wittig:
  • Cyborg Feminism & transhumanism:
  • Week 3 Notes: Haraway
    Preliminary discussion – Terms & Philosophical links:
    • Materialist/Socialist Feminist = Rooted in & as response to Marxism; not just capitalism
    oppresses but the union of capitalism-patriarchy cause of oppression for women
    • Radical Feminism = Latin Radux means root; feminism of the 70s/80s that seeks to get to
    the root of oppression [patriarchy]; As a materialist critic, Haraway was sympathetic with
    the impulses that propelled radical feminism. As philosopher of science, however, she
    took issue with the radical feminist idea that the “roots” of a socially constructed problem
    like patriarchy could be located with enough research. In particular, Haraway worried the
    radical feminism seemed to promise for women an Edenic “starting point” of gender and
    identity, prior to other mitigating cultural factors. In poststructuralist terminology, this is
    called the error of “essentialism.”
    • Goddess Feminism = Reject the technological & return women to nature; see elements of
    it in popular Wicca & some ecofeminism; In American attempt to reject things
    technological and return women to nature. Haraway saw this movement in particular as
    reactionary rather than progressive feminist politics.
    • Post-Human = an entity that exists in a state beyond being human
    • Post-Gender = eliminating or moving beyond gendered identities/constructions & their
    social role & meanings
    • Luce Irigaray = critical of her essentialism but is inspired by her points about masculinist
    language & histories; feminine writing [“l’ecriture feminine”] is nonlinear, performative,
    autobiographical [write the truth of their bodies]
    • Monique Wittig = materialist feminist; her work speaks to the woman as a political class
    of oppression & heterosexism; argued for the need to have both class & individual
    consciousness; reject the purely masculine histories
    • Irigaray & Wittig exhorted women to reject masculinist histories and instead “write the
    truth of their bodies” through methods like autobiography and performance. This
    practice, which they called “feminine writing”, influenced a generation of feminists.
    • Judith Butler = they share a critique of essentialism; they both seek queering of
    categories and identities; importance performatives in discourse; push for coalitional
    Cyborg Manifesto (1985);
    • Haraway background …
    • Philosopher & biologist
    • Highly critical of identity politics, patriarchy, colonialism, naturalism, essentialism &
    several forms feminism
    • Takes issue with these because of problematic taxonomies of Othering they commit to the antagonistic dualisms in Western discourse (e.g., reason/emotion; black/white;
    right/wrong; male/female)
    • High-tech culture provides a challenge to binaries/dichotomies with hybrids & blurred
    • 5 parts to the manifesto
    • The image of cyborg. She defines this image in four different ways. The first is as a
    “cybernetic organism.” The second is as “a hybrid of machine and organism.” The third
    is as “a creature of lived social reality”, and the fourth is as a “creature of fiction.”
    • “Cybernetics” is the study of communication and control processes in biological,
    mechanical, and electronic systems. Accordingly, a “cybernetic organism” is one that
    functions according to a communication and control network.
    • “Hybrid” in genetics refers to the offspring of genetically dissimilar parents or stock.
    Something that is a “hybrid of machine and organism” would of necessity contain both
    organic and inorganic materials. Put another way, a cyborg would have elements that
    would qualify it as classically “alive” and then again, not.
    • These 4 descriptions of the cyborg are co-determinate. For instance, Haraway argues that
    in philosophical terms, there is no real space between “lived social reality” and “fiction”,
    because one category is constantly defining and refining the other. Haraway points out
    how feminists have deployed the notion of “women’s experience” using it both as
    “fiction and a fact of the most crucial, political kind.” In a similar way, Haraway argues,
    the cyborg will “change what counts as experience” for women in the late twentieth
    • Border of cyborg is optical illusion: cyborg politics have been linked to oppressive
    mythologies: scientific progress; racist, male-dominated capitalism; the exploitation of
    nature to serve the needs of culture. This doesn’t have to remain the case, however.
    Indeed, Haraway writes that her Manifesto is an argument for “pleasure in the confusion
    of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction.”
    • No origin story but rather a history: part of the reason she is attracted to the metaphor of
    the cyborg lies with its ability to help her reconceptualize socialist feminism in a nonnaturalist mode. Because it doesn’t depend on human reproduction for its existence, the
    cyborg is “outside gender”. The cyborg is no Frankenstein waiting to be saved by its
    creator/master. Neither does it seek completeness in heterosexual soul mates, or desire
    community and completeness in a nuclear family. It has no Eden and it has no fall; it is
    not innocent. just because the cyborg has “no origin story in the Western sense”, it
    certainly has a history– invariably linked somehow to the military industrial complex.
    • In the 20th century 3 important boundaries crossed and blurred: Haraway argues these
    bring about the metaphor of cyborg and also make the “return to nature” an impossibility
    for feminists. The first = humans and animals, which has occurred as a result of things
    like pollution, tourism and medical experimentation. Baboon hearts transplants, she
    points out “evoke national ethical perplexity– for animal rights activists at least as much
    as for the guardians of human purity. ” Second boundary = between humans and
    machines. In the past, machines were not self-moving, self-designing, and autonomous.
    Today, however, machines are making “ambiguous the difference between the natural
    and the artificial,” writes Haraway. Without ever citing the Internet or virtual reality
    technologies, she alludes to as much when she writes, “Our machines are disturbingly
    lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.” The third boundary is a subset of the
    second = the eroding space between “the physical and the non-physical.” Illustrating the
    ubiquity of microprocessors in contemporary life, Haraway writes that “small is not so
    much beautiful as pre-eminently dangerous.” She cites the cruise missile (which can be
    transported undetected on the back of a pickup truck) as well as the microchip (which is

    the size of a thumbnail). The first is related to the actual health hazard of producing
    microprocessors. The second is pervasive stress (the “invisible illness”) of consuming
    them everyday through computer and media culture.
    These three boundary crossings (there are others) are detailed in order to get American
    socialist feminists used to the idea of politically negotiating through a technological
    world. She understands why feminists might advocate turning away from technology.
    After all, the world’s poorest women are the ones who suffer the most from technological
    “progress”, as exploited sweatshop laborers, as underpaid “home-workers” and as test
    cases in reproductive medical trials.
    She argues that it is irresponsible for feminists to cling to the notion that one can “return
    to nature”, if only because such a fantasy is economically impossible for poor women,
    and thus rooted in cultural privilege. As she puts it later on in this essay, ” It’s not just
    that ‘god’ is dead; so is the ‘goddess'”. Haraway wants socialist feminists to engage
    technological economies “from the belly of the beast,” and speaks of a time to come in
    which “people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid
    of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints.”
    Haraway emphasizes it is neither the wholesale adoption nor rejection of technoculture,
    but rather the capacity to understand both perspectives at once.
    Affinity Politics not identity politics: Haraway doesn’t like identity politics – She quips,
    “It has become difficult to name one’s feminism by a single adjective,” and argues that
    the search for the “essential woman” is not only elusive, it is dangerous. Historically,
    essentialism has served as an excuse for (first world) women’s domination over others,
    “for their own good.”
    Cyborgs are hybrid and provisional, and for this reason, they can have no truck with
    political categories requiring a stabile, essentialist identity. Rather than using identity as
    a political category, feminists should consider building coalitions based on the more
    cyborg-friendly notion of “affinity.” Haraway analyzes the phrase “women of color,”
    suggesting it as one possible category of affinity politics. Whereas a category like
    “Chicana” designates a sort of racial essence, the theorist Chela Sandoval has argued that
    there is nothing that a woman of color essentially is. Sandoval coins the term
    “oppositional consciousness” to describe the effect that the phrase “women of color” has
    had on the feminist community. Haraway takes oppositional consciousness to be
    consistent with a cyborg politics, because rather than identity it stresses how affinity
    comes as a result of “otherness, difference, and specificity.”
    The machine is in us: it is not worshipped outside or will dominate us – we are
    responsible for them.
    Restatement of three crucial arguments in this manifesto:
    1. “The production of universal, totalizing theory is a major mistake that misses
    most of reality, probably always, but certainly now.”
    2. “Taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means
    refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology.” Haraway adds
    that taking responsibility also means “embracing the skilful task of reconstructing the
    boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of
    our parts.”
    3. Cyborg imagery suggests “a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have
    explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves.”

    Haraway would rather be a cyborg than a goddess; For Haraway, a cyborg politics will
    be both pleasant and dangerous, and will require both a building and a destroying of
    “machines, identities, categories, relationships, space stories.”
    In this lecture I skipped over major parts of the middle – her critiques of Mackinnon, the
    discussion of homeworker and labour, and then the feminist sci-fi discussions. If there are
    elements of this you wish to understand more, check out these notes.
    1. There’s the odd mistake in these ones but they are otherwise pretty solid.
    2. Or there is this one:
    A Manifesto for Cyborgs :
    Science, Technology, and
    Socialist Feminism in the 1980s
    by Donna Haraway
    An Ironic Dream o f a Com m on Language
    for Women in the Integrated Circuit
    is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful
    to feminism, socialism, and materialism. Perhaps more faith­
    ful as blasphemy is faithful, than as reverent worship and identifi­
    cation. Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things
    very seriously. I know no better stance to adopt from within the
    secular-religious, evangelical traditions o f United States politics,
    including the politics o f socialist-feminism. Blasphemy protects
    one from the moral majority within, while still insisting on the
    need for community. Blasphemy is not apostasy. Irony is about
    contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialec­
    tically, about the tension o f holding incompatible things together
    because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about humor
    and serious play. It is also a rhetorical strategy and a political
    method, one I would like to see more honored within socialist
    feminism. At the center o f my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the
    image o f the cyborg.
    his e s s a y
    A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid o f machine and
    organism, a creature o f social reality as well as a creature o f fiction.
    Social reality is lived social relations, our most important political
    construction, a world-changing fiction. The international wom ­
    en’s movements have constructed “ wom en’s experience,” as well
    as uncovered or discovered this crucial collective object. This ex­
    perience is a fiction and fact o f the most crucial, political kind.
    Donna Haraway
    Liberation rests on the construction o f the consciousness, the
    imaginative apprehension, o f oppression, and so o f possibility.
    The cyborg is a matter o f fiction and lived experience that changes
    what counts as women’s experience in the late twentieth century.
    This is a struggle over life and death, but the boundary between
    science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.
    Contemporary science fiction is full o f cyborgs — creatures si­
    multaneously animal and machine, who populate worlds ambigu­
    ously natural and crafted. Modern medicine is also full o f cyborgs,
    o f couplings between organism and machine, each conceived as
    coded devices, in an intimacy and with a power that was not
    generated in the history o f sexuality. C yborg “sex” restores some
    o f the lovely replicative baroque o f ferns and invertebrates (such
    nice organic prophylactics against heterosexism). C yborg replica­
    tion is uncoupled from organic reproduction. Modern production
    seems like a dream o f cyborg colonization o f work, a dream that
    makes the nightmare ofTaylorism seem idyllic. And modern war
    is a cyborg orgy, coded by C3i, command-control-communicationintelligence, an $84 billion item in 1984s u .S . defense budget. I am
    making an argument for the cyborg as a fiction mapping our social
    and bodily reality and as an imaginative resource suggesting some
    very fruitful couplings. Foucault’s biopolitics is a flaccid premoni­
    tion o f cyborg politics, a very open field.
    twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are
    all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids o f machine and
    organism ; in short, we are cyborgs. The cyborg is our ontology;
    it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image o f both
    imagination and material reality, the two joined centers structur­
    ing any possibility o f historical transformation. In the traditions
    o f “ Western” science and politics —the tradition o f racist, maledominant capitalism; the tradition o f progress; the tradition of the
    appropriation o f nature as resource for the productions o f culture,
    the tradition o f reproduction o f the self from the reflections o f the
    other—the relation between organism and machine has been *
    border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories
    o f production, reproduction, and imagination. This essay is 311
    argument for pleasure in the confusion o f boundaries and for re’
    sponsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to
    socialist-feminist culture and theory in a post-modernist, non’
    naturalist mode and in the utopian tradition o f imagining a won
    y the late
    /L Manifesto for Cyborgs
    without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but
    maybe also a world without end. The cyborg incarnation is out­
    side salvation history.
    The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender w orld; it has no truck
    with bisexuality, pre-Oedipal sym biosis, unalienated labor, or
    other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropria­
    tion o f all the powers o f the parts into a higher unity. In a sense,
    the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense; a “ final” irony
    since the cyborg is also the awful apocalyptic telos o f the “ West’s ”
    escalating dominations o f abstract individuation, an ultimate self
    untied at last from all dependency, a man in space. An origin story
    in the “ Western,” humanist sense depends on the myth o f original
    unity, fullness, bliss and terror, represented by the phallic mother
    from whom all humans must separate, the task o f individual de­
    velopment and o f history, the twin potent myths inscribed most
    powerfully for us in psychoanalysis and Marxism. Hilary Klein
    has argued that both M arxism and psychoanalysis, in their con­
    cepts o f labor and o f individuation and gender formation, depend
    on the plot o f original unity out o f which difference must be
    produced and enlisted in a drama o f escalating domination o f
    woman/nature. The cyborg skips the step o f original unity, o f
    identification with nature in the Western sense. This is its illegiti­
    mate promise that might lead to subversion o f its teleology as star
    The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, inti­
    macy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely
    without innocence. N o longer structured by the polarity o f public
    and private, the cyborg defines a technological polis based partly
    on a revolution o f social relations in the oikos, the household.
    Nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer be the
    resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other. The rela­
    tionships for forming wholes from parts, including those o f polar­
    ity and hierarchical domination, are at issue in the cyborg world.
    Unlike the hopes o f Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg does not
    expect its father to save it through a restoration o f the garden;
    i.e., through the fabrication o f a heterosexual mate, through its
    completion in a finished whole, a city and cosmos. The cyborg
    does not dream o f community on the model o f the organic family,
    this time without the Oedipal project. The cyborg would not
    recognize the Garden o f Eden; it is not made o f mud and cannot
    dream o f returning to dust. Perhaps that is w hy I want to see i f
    Donna Haraway
    cyborgs can subvert the apocalypse o f returning to nuclear dust in
    the manic compulsion to name the Enem y. Cyborgs are not rev­
    erent; they do not re-member the cosmos. They are wary o f hol­
    ism , but needy for connection —they seem to have a natural feel
    for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The
    main trouble with cyborgs, o f course, is that they are the illegiti­
    mate offspring o f militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to
    mention state socialism. B u t illegitimate offspring are often ex­
    ceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are
    to the science fiction o f cyborgs at the end o f this
    essay, but now I want to signal three crucial boundary break­
    downs that make the following political fictional (political scien­
    tific) analysis possible. B y the late twentieth century in United
    States scientific culture, the boundary between human and animal
    is thoroughly breached. The last beachheads o f uniqueness have
    been polluted if not turned into amusement parks — language, tool
    use, social behavior, mental events, nothing really convincingly
    settles the separation o f human and animal. And many people no
    longer feel the need o f such a separation; indeed, many branches of
    feminist culture affirm the pleasure o f connection o f human and
    other living creatures. Movements for animal rights are not ir­
    rational denials o f human uniqueness; they are clear-sighted recog­
    nition o f connection across the discredited breach o f nature and
    culture. Biology and evolutionary theory over the last two cen­
    turies have simultaneously produced modern organisms as objects
    o f knowledge and reduced the line between humans and animals
    to a faint trace re-etched in ideological struggle or professional
    disputes between life and social sciences. Within this framework,
    teaching modern Christian creationism should be fought as a form
    o f child abuse.
    w ill return
    Biological-determinist ideology is only one position opened up
    in scientific culture for arguing the meanings o f human animalityThere is much room for radical political people to contest for the
    meanings o f the breached boundary.1 The cyborg appears in myth
    precisely where the boundary between human and animal is trans­
    gressed. Far from signaling a walling o ff o f people from other
    living beings, cyborgs signal disturbingly and pleasurably tight
    coupling. Bestiality has a new status in this cycle o f marriage
    Manifesto for Cyborgs
    The second leaky distinction is between animal-human (organ­
    ism) and machine. Pre-cybernetic machines could be haunted;
    there was always the specter o f the ghost in the machine. This
    dualism structured the dialogue between materialism and idealism
    that was settled by a dialectical progeny, called spirit or history,
    according to taste. But basically machines were not self-moving,
    self-designing, autonomous. They could not achieve man’s dream,
    only mock it. They were not man, an author to himself, but only a
    caricature o f that masculinist reproductive dream. To think they
    were otherwise was paranoid. N o w we are not so sure. Latetwentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the
    difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, selfdeveloping and externally-designed, and many other distinctions
    that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are
    disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.
    Technological determinism is only one ideological space opened
    up by the reconceptions o f machine and organism as coded texts
    through which we engage in the play o f writing and reading the
    world.2 “ Textualization” o f everything in post-structuralist, post­
    modernist theory has been damned by Marxists and socialist femi­
    nists for its utopian disregard for lived relations o f domination
    that ground the “ play” o f arbitrary reading.3* It is certainly true
    *A provocative, comprehensive argument about the politics and theories o f
    “ post-modernism” is made by Frederick Jameson, who argues that post­
    modernism is not an option, a style among others, but a cultural dominant
    requiring radical reinvention o f left politics from within; there is no longer
    any place from without that gives meaning to the comforting fiction o f
    critical distance. Jameson also makes clear why one cannot be for or against
    post-modernism, an essentially moralist move. M y position is that feminists
    (and others) need continuous cultural reinvention, post-modernist critique,
    and historical materialism; only a cyborg would have a chance. The old
    dominations o f white capitalist patriarchy seem nostalgically innocent n ow :
    they normalized heterogeneity, e.g., into man and woman, white and black.
    “Advanced capitalism” and post-modernism release heterogeneity without a
    norm, and we are flattened, without subjectivity, which requires depth, even
    unfriendly and drowning depths. It is time to write The Death of the Clinic.
    The clinic’s methods required bodies and w orks; we have texts and surfaces.
    Our dominations don’t work by medicalization and normalization anymore;
    they work by networking, communications redesign, stress management.
    Normalization gives way to automation, utter redundancy. Michel Foucault’s
    Birth o f the Clinic, History of Sexuality, and Discipline and Punish name a form
    of power at its moment o f implosion. The discourse o f biopolitics gives way
    to technobabble, the language o f the spliced substantive; no noun is left
    whole by the multinationals. These are their names, listed from one issue
    of Science: Tech-Knowledge, Genentech, Allergen, Hybritech, Compupro,
    Genen-cor, Syntex, Allelix, Agrigenetics Corp., Syntro, Codon, Repligen,
    Donna Haraway
    that post-modernist strategies, like my cyborg myth, subvert
    myriad organic wholes (e.g., the poem, the primitive culture, the
    biological organism). In short, the certainty o f what counts as
    nature — a source o f insight and a promise o f innocence—is under­
    mined, probably fatally. The transcendent authorization o f inter­
    pretation is lost, and with it the ontology grounding “ Western”
    epistemology. But the alternative is not cynicism or faithlessness,
    i.e., some version o f abstract existence, like the accounts o f tech­
    nological determinism destroying “ m an” by the “ machine” or
    “ meaningful political action” by the “ text.” Who cyborgs will be
    is a radical question; the answers are a matter o f survival. Both
    chimpanzees and artifacts have politics, so why shouldn’t w e?4
    The third distinction is a subset o f the second: the boundary
    between physical and non-physical is very imprecise for us. Pop
    physics books on the consequences o f quantum theory and the
    indeterminacy principle are a kind o f popular scientific equivalent
    to the Harlequin romances as a marker o f radical change in Ameri­
    can white heterosexuality: they get it wrong, but they are on the
    right subject. Modern machines are quintessential^ microelectronic
    devices: they are everywhere and they are invisible. Modern ma­
    chinery is an irreverant upstart god, mocking the Father’s ubiquity
    and spirituality. The silicon chip is a surface for writing; it is
    etched in molecular scales disturbed only by atomic noise, the
    ultimate interference for nuclear scores. Writing, power, and tech­
    nology are old partners in Western stories o f the origin o f civiliza­
    tion, but miniaturization has changed our experience o f mecha­
    nism. Miniaturization has turned out to be about pow er; small is
    not so much beautiful as pre-eminently dangerous, as in cruise
    missiles. Contrast the tv sets o f the 1950s or the news cameras of
    the 1970s with the tv wrist bands or hand-sized video cameras
    now advertised. Our best machines are made o f sunshine; they are
    all light and clean because they are nothing but signals, electro­
    magnetic waves, a section o f a spectrum. And these machines are
    eminently portable, mobile —a matter o f immense human pain in
    Detroit and Singapore. People are nowhere near so fluid, being
    both material and opaque. Cyborgs are ether, quintessence.
    Micro-Angelo from Scion Corp., Percom Data, Inter Systems, Cyborg
    Corp., Statcom Corp., Intertec. If we are imprisoned by language, then
    escape from that prison house requires language poets, a kind o f cultural
    restriction enzyme to cut the code; cyborg heteroglossia is one form of
    radical culture politics.
    Manifesto for Cyborgs
    The ubiquity and invisibility o f cyborgs is precisely why these
    sunshine-belt machines are so deadly. They are as hard to see politi—
    [ cally as materially. They are about consciousness — or its simula­
    tion.5 They are floating signifiers m oving in pickup trucks across
    Europe, blocked more effectively by the witch-weavings o f the
    displaced and so unnatural Greenham women, who read the cyborg
    webs o f power very well, than by the militant labor o f older
    masculinist politics, whose natural constituency needs defense jobs.
    Ultimately the “ hardest” science is about the realm o f greatest
    boundary confusion, the realm o f pure number, pure spirit, c 3i,
    cryptography, and the preservation o f potent secrets. The new
    machines are so clean and light. Their engineers are sun-worshipers
    mediating a new scientific revolution associated with the night
    dream o f post-industrial society. The diseases evoked by these
    clean machines are “ no m ore” than the miniscule coding changes
    of an antigen in the immune system, “ no m ore” than the experi­
    ence o f stress. The nimble little fingers o f “ O riental” women,
    the old fascination o f little Anglo-Saxon Victorian girls with doll
    houses, wom en’s enforced attention to the small take on quite new
    dimensions in this world. There might be a cyborg Alice taking
    account o f these new dimensions. Ironically, it might be the un­
    natural cyborg women making chips in Asia and spiral dancing in
    Santa Rita whose constructed unities will guide effective opposi­
    tional strategies.
    So my cyborg myth is about transgressed boundaries, potent
    fusions, and dangerous possibilities which progressive people might
    explore as one part o f needed political work. One o f m y premises
    is that most American socialists and feminists see deepened dual­
    isms o f mind and body, animal and machine, idealism and materi­
    alism in the social practices, symbolic formulations, and physical
    artifacts associated with “ high technology” and scientific culture.
    From One-Dimensional Man to The Death o f Nature,6 the analytic
    resources developed by progressives have insisted on the necessary
    domination o f technics and recalled us to an imagined organic
    body to integrate our resistance. Another o f m y premises is that
    the need for unity o f people trying to resist worldwide intensifica­
    tion o f domination has never been more acute. But a slightly
    perverse shift o f perspective might better enable us to contest for
    meanings, as well as for other forms o f power and pleasure in
    technologically-mediated societies.
    Donna Haraway
    a cyborg world is about the final impo­
    sition o f a grid o f control on the planet, about the final abstrac­
    tion embodied in a Star War apocalypse waged in the name of
    defense, about the final appropriation o f women’s bodies in a masculinist orgy o f war.7 From another perspective, a cyborg world
    might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are
    not afraid o f their joint kinship with animals and machines, not
    afraid o f permanently partial identities and contradictory stand­
    points. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at
    once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities un­
    imaginable from the other vantage point. Single vision produces
    worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters.
    C yborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate; in our present po­
    litical circumstances, we could hardly hope for more potent myths
    for resistance and recoupling. I like to imagine l a g , the Livermore
    Action Group, as a kind o f cyborg society, dedicated to realisti­
    cally converting the laboratories that most fiercely embody and
    spew out the tools o f technological apocalypse, and committed to
    building a political form that actually manages to hold together
    witches, engineers, elders, perverts, Christians, mothers, and
    Leninists long enough to disarm the state. Fission Impossible is the
    name o f the affinity group in my town. (Affinity: related not by
    blood but by choice, the appeal o f one chemical nuclear group for
    another, avidity.)
    ro m o n e p e r s p e c t i v e ,
    Fractured Identities
    to name one’s feminism by a single
    adjective—or even to insist in every circumstance upon the
    noun. Consciousness o f exclusion through naming is acute. Identi­
    ties seem contradictory, partial, and strategic. With the hard-won
    recognition o f their social and historical constitution, gender, race,
    and class cannot provide the basis for belief in “essential” unityThere is nothing about being “ female” that naturally binds women.
    There is not even such a state as “ being” female, itself a highly
    complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific dis­
    courses and other social practices. Gender, race, or class conscious­
    ness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical ex­
    perience o f the contradictory social realities o f patriarchy, colonial’
    ism, and capitalism. And who counts as “ us” in my own rhetoricWhich identities are available to ground such a potent political
    t has b e c o m e d i f f i c u l t
    A Manifesto for Cyborgs
    jnyth called “ us,” and what could motivate enlistment in this col­
    lectivity? Painful fragmentation among feminists (not to mention
    among women) along every possible fault line has made the con­
    cept o f woman elusive, an excuse for the matrix o f wom en’s domi­
    nations o f each other. For me —and for many who share a similar
    historical location in white, professional middle class, female, radi­
    cal, North American, mid-adult bodies —the sources o f a crisis in
    political identity are legion. The recent history for much o f the
    U.s. left and u.s. feminism has been a response to this kind o f
    crisis by endless splitting and searches for a new essential unity.
    But there has also been a growing recognition o f another response
    through coalition —affinity, not identity.8
    Chela Sandoval, from a consideration o f specific historical mo­
    ments in the formation o f the new political voice called women o f
    color, has theorized a hopeful model o f political identity called
    “oppositional consciousness,” born o f the skills for reading webs
    of power by those refused stable membership in the social cate­
    gories o f race, sex, or class.9 “ Women o f color,” a name contested
    at its origins by those whom it would incorporate, as well as a
    historical consciousness marking systematic breakdown o f all the
    signs o f Man in “ Western” traditions, constructs a kind o f post­
    modernist identity out o f otherness and difference. This post­
    modernist identity is fully political, whatever might be said about
    other possible post-modernisms.
    Sandoval emphasizes the lack o f any essential criterion for iden­
    tifying who is a woman o f color. She notes that the definition o f
    the group has been by conscious appropriation o f negation. For
    example, a Chicana or u.s. black woman has not been able to
    speak as a woman or as a black person or as a Chicano. Thus, she
    was at the bottom o f a cascade o f negative identities, left out o f
    even the privileged oppressed authorial categories called “ women
    and blacks,” who claimed to make the important revolutions. The
    category “ wom an” negated all non-white women; “ black” negated
    all non-black people, as well as all black women. But there was
    also no “she,” no singularity, but a sea o f differences among u.s.
    women who have affirmed their historical identity as u.s. women
    of color. This identity marks out a self-consciously constructed
    space that cannot affirm the capacity to act on the basis o f natural
    identification, but only on the basis o f conscious coalition, o f affin­
    ity, o f political kinship.10 Unlike the “ w om an” o f some streams o f
    the white wom en’s movement in the United States, there is no
    Donna Haraway
    naturalization o f the matrix, or at least this is what Sandoval argues
    is uniquely available through the power o f oppositional conscious­
    Sandoval’s argument has to be seen as one potent formulation
    for feminists out o f the worldwide development o f anti-colonialist
    discourse, i.e., discourse dissolving the “ West” and its highest
    product—the one who is not animal, barbarian, or woman; i.e.,
    man, the author o f a cosmos called history. As orientalism is de­
    constructed politically and semiotically, the identities o f the Occi­
    dent destabilize, including those o f feminists.11 Sandoval argues
    that “ women o f color” have a chance to build an effective unity
    that does not replicate the imperializing, totalizing revolutionary
    subjects o f previous M arxisms and feminisms which had not faced
    the consequences o f the disorderly polyphony emerging from de­
    Katie King has emphasized the limits o f identification and the
    political/poetic mechanics o f identification built into reading “ the
    poem,” that generative core o f cultural feminism. King criticizes
    the persistent tendency among contemporary feminists from dif­
    ferent “ moments” or “ conversations” in feminist practice to taxonomize the w om en’s movement to make one’s own political tenden­
    cies appear to be the telos o f the whole. These taxonomies tend to
    remake feminist history to appear to be an ideological struggle
    among coherent types persisting over time, especially those typi­
    cal units called radical, liberal, and socialist feminism. Literally, all
    other feminisms are either incorporated or marginalized, usually
    by building an explicit ontology and epistem ology.12 Taxonomies
    o f feminism produce epistemologies to police deviation from offi­
    cial women’s experience. And o f course, “ wom en’s culture,” lik® I
    women o f color, is consciously created by mechanisms inducing
    affinity. The rituals o f poetry, music, and certain forms o f aca­
    demic practice have been pre-eminent. The politics o f race and
    culture in the u.s. wom en’s movements are intimately interwoven.
    The common achievement o f King and Sandoval is learning hoW
    to craft a poetic/political unity without relying on a logic ofappr0”
    priation, incorporation, and taxonomic identification.
    struggle against unitythrough-domination or unity-through-incorporation ironically
    not only undermines the justifications for patriarchy, colonialist11’
    humanism, positivism , essentialism, scientism, and other
    he t h e o r e t i c a l
    pra ctica l
    fa Manifesto for Cyborgs
    lamented -isms, but all claims for an organic or natural standpoint.
    1 think that radical and socialist/Marxist feminisms have also under­
    mined their/our own epistemological strategies and that this is a
    crucially valuable step in imagining possible unities. It remains to
    be seen whether all “epistemologies” as Western political people
    have known them fail us in the task to build effective affinities.
    It is important to note that the effort to construct revolutionary
    standpoints, epistemologies as achievements o f people committed
    to changing the world, has been part o f the process showing the
    limits o f identification. The acid tools o f post-modernist theory
    and the constructive tools o f ontological discourse about revolu­
    tionary subjects might be seen as ironic allies in dissolving Western
    selves in the interests o f survival. We are excruciatingly conscious
    o f what it means to have a historically constituted body. But with
    the loss o f innocence in our origin, there is no expulsion from the
    Garden either. Our politics lose the indulgence o f guilt with the
    naïveté o f innocence. But what would another political myth for
    socialist feminism look like? What kind o f politics could embrace
    partial, contradictory, permanently unclosed constructions o f per­
    sonal and collective selves and still be faithful, effective—and,
    ironically, socialist feminist?
    I do not know o f any other time in history when there was
    greater need for political unity to confront effectively the domina­
    tions o f “ race,” “gender,” “ sexuality,” and “class.” I also do not
    know o f any other time when the kind o f unity w e might help
    build could have been possible. None o f “ us” have any longer the
    symbolic or material capability o f dictating the shape o f reality to
    any o f “ them.” O r at least “ w e ” cannot claim innocence from prac­
    ticing such dominations. White women, including socialist femi­
    nists, discovered (i.e., were forced kicking and screaming to notice)
    the non-innocence o f the category “ woman.” That consciousness
    changes the geography o f all previous categories ; it denatures them
    as heat denatures a fragile protein. C yborg feminists have to argue
    that “ w e” do not want any more natural matrix o f unity and that
    no construction is whole. Innocence, and the corollary insistence
    on victimhood as the only ground for insight, has done enough
    damage. But the constructed revolutionary subject must give latetwentieth-century people pause as well. In the fraying o f identities
    and in the reflexive strategies for constructing them, the possibility
    opens up for weaving something other than a shroud for the day
    after the apocalypse that so prophetically ends salvation history.
    Donna Haraway
    Both Marxist/socialist feminisms and radical feminisms have
    simultaneously naturalized and denatured the category “ woman”
    and consciousness o f the social lives o f “ women.” Perhaps a sche­
    matic caricature can highlight both kinds o f moves. Marxian social­
    ism is rooted in an analysis o f wage labor which reveals class
    structure. The consequence o f the wage relationship is systematic
    alienation, as the worker is dissociated from his (sic) product.
    Abstraction and illusion rule in knowledge, domination rules in
    practice. Labor is the pre-eminently privileged category enabling
    the Marxist to overcome illusion and find that point o f view which
    is necessary for changing the world. Labor is the humanizing activ­
    ity that makes man; labor is an ontological category permitting
    the knowledge o f a subject, and so the knowledge o f subjugation
    and alienation.
    In faithful filiation, socialist feminism advanced by allying itself
    with the basic analytic strategies o f Marxism. The main achieve­
    ment o f both Marxist feminists and socialist feminists was to ex­
    pand the category o f labor to accommodate what (some) women
    did, even when the wage relation was subordinated to a more
    comprehensive view o f labor under capitalist patriarchy. In par­
    ticular, women’s labor in the household and wom en’s activity as
    mothers generally, i.e., reproduction in the socialist feminist sense,
    entered theory on the authority o f analogy to the Marxian concept
    o f labor. The unity o f women here rests on an epistemology based
    on the ontological structure o f “ labor.” Marxist/socialist feminism
    does not “ naturalize” unity; it is a possible achievement based on a
    possible standpoint rooted in social relations. The essentializing
    m ove is in the ontological structure o f labor or o f its analogue,
    w om en’s activity.13* The inheritance o f Marxian humanism, with
    its pre-eminently Western self, is the difficulty for me. The contri­
    bution from these formulations has been the emphasis on the daily
    responsibility o f real women to build unities, rather than to natur­
    alize them.
    *The central role o f object-relations versions o f psychoanalysis and related
    strong universalizing moves in discussing reproduction, caring work, and
    mothering in many approaches to epistemology underline their authors re­
    sistance to what I am calling post-modernism. For me, both the universal­
    izing moves and the versions o f psychoanalysis make analysis o f “ womens
    place in the integrated circuit” difficult and lead to systematic difficulties in
    accounting for or even seeing major aspects o f the construction o f gender and
    gendered social life.
    £ Manifesto for Cyborgs
    version o f radical feminism is itself a
    caricature o f the appropriating, incorporating, totalizing ten­
    dencies o f Western theories o f identity grounding action.14 It is
    factually and politically w rong to assimilate all o f the diverse
    • “moments” or “ conversations” in recent wom en’s politics named
    radical feminism to MacKinnon’s version. But the teleological logic
    of her theory shows how an epistemology and ontology—includ­
    ing their negations—erase or police difference. O nly one o f the
    effects o f M acKinnon’s theory is the rewriting o f the history o f
    the polymorphous field called radical feminism. The major effect
    is the production o f a theory o f experience, o f wom en’s identity,
    that is a kind o f apocalypse for all revolutionary standpoints. That
    is, the totalization built into this tale o f radical feminism achieves
    its end — the unity o f women —by enforcing the experience o f and
    testimony to radical non-being. As for the Marxist/socialist femi­
    nist, consciousness is an achievement, not a natural fact. And
    MacKinnon’s theory eliminates some o f the difficulties built into
    humanist revolutionary subjects, but at the cost o f radical reductionism.
    atherine m a c k in n o n ’ s
    MacKinnon argues that radical feminism necessarily adopted a
    different analytical strategy from M arxism , looking first not at the
    structure o f class, but at the structure o f sex/gender and its genera­
    tive relationship, men’s constitution and appropriation o f women
    sexually. Ironically, M acKinnon’s “ontology” constructs a non­
    subject, a non-being. Another’s desire, not the self’s labor, is the
    origin o f “ wom an.” She therefore develops a theory o f conscious­
    ness that enforces what can count as “ wom en’s” experience—any­
    thing that names sexual violation, indeed, sex itself as far as
    “ wom en” can be concerned. Feminist practice is the construction
    of this form o f consciousness; i.e., the self-knowledge o f a selfwho-is-not.
    Perversely, sexual appropriation in this radical feminism still has
    the epistemological status o f labor, i.e., the point from which
    analysis able to contribute to changing the world must flow. But
    sexual objectification, not alienation, is the consequence o f the
    structure o f sex/gender. In the realm o f knowledge, the result
    of sexual objectification is illusion and abstraction. However, a
    woman is not simply alienated from her product, but in a deep
    sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since
    she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation. To be
    Donna Haraway
    constituted by another’s desire is not the same thing as to be alien­
    ated in the violent separation o f the laborer from his product.
    MacKinnon’s radical theory o f experience is totalizing in the
    extreme; it does not so much marginalize as obliterate the author­
    ity o f any other wom en’s political speech and action. It is a totaliza­
    tion producing what Western patriarchy itself never succeeded in
    doing —feminists’ consciousness o f the non-existence o f women,
    except as products o f men’s desire. I think MacKinnon correctly
    argues that no Marxian version o f identity can firm ly ground
    w om en’s unity. But in solving the problem o f the contradictions
    o f any Western revolutionary subject for feminist purposes, she
    develops an even more authoritarian doctrine o f experience. If my
    complaint about socialist/Marxian standpoints is their unintended
    erasure o f poly vocal, unassimilable, radical difference made visible
    in anti-colonial discourse and practice, M acKinnon’s intentional
    erasure o f all difference through the device o f the “essential” non­
    existence o f women is not reassuring.
    In my taxonomy, which like any other taxonomy is a réinscrip­
    tion o f history, radical feminism can accommodate all the activities
    o f women named by socialist feminists as forms o f labor only if
    the activity can somehow be sexualized. Reproduction had differ­
    ent tones o f meanings for the two tendencies, one rooted in labor,
    one in sex, both calling the consequences o f domination and ignor­
    ance o f social and personal reality “ false consciousness.”
    Beyond either the difficulties or the contributions in the argu­
    ment o f any one author, neither Marxist nor radical feminist points
    o f view have tended to embrace the status o f a partial explanation;
    both were regularly constituted as totalities. Western explanation
    has demanded as much; how else could the “ Western” author
    incorporate its others? Each tried to annex other forms o f domina­
    tion by expanding its basic categories through analogy, simple
    listing, or addition. Embarrassed silence about race among white
    radical and socialist feminists was one major, devastating political
    consequence. History and polyvocality disappear into political
    taxonomies that try to establish genealogies. There was no struc­
    tural room for race (or for much else) in theory claiming to reveal
    the construction o f the category woman and social group women
    as a unified or totalizable whole. The structure o f m y caricature
    looks like this:
    /L Manifesto for Cyborgs
    Socialist Feminism —
    structure o f class//wage labor//alienation
    labor, by analogy reproduction, by extension sex, by addition race
    Radical Feminism —
    structure o f gender//sexual appropriation//objectification
    sex, by analogy labor, by extension reproduction, by addition race
    In another context, the French theorist Julia Kristeva claimed
    women appeared as a historical group after World War n, along
    with groups like youth. Her dates are doubtful; but we are now
    accustomed to remembering that as objects o f knowledge and as
    historical actors, “ race” did not always exist, “ class” has a histori­
    cal genesis, and “ homosexuals” are quite junior. It is no accident
    that the symbolic system o f the family o f man —and so the essence
    of wom an—breaks up at the same moment that networks o f con­
    nection among people on the planet are unprecedentedly multiple,
    pregnant, and complex. “Advanced capitalism” is inadequate to
    convey the structure o f this historical moment. In the “ Western”
    sense, the end o f man is at stake. It is no accident that woman
    disintegrates into women in our time. Perhaps socialist feminists
    were not substantially guilty o f producing essentialist theory that
    suppressed w om en’s particularity and contradictory interests. I
    think we have been, at least through unreflective participation
    in the logics, languages, and practices o f white humanism and
    through searching for a single ground o f domination to secure our
    revolutionary voice. N o w we have less excuse. But in the con­
    sciousness o f our failures, w e risk lapsing into boundless difference
    and giving up on the confusing task o f making partial, real con­
    nection. Some differences are playful; some are poles o f w orld
    historical systems o f domination. “ Epistem ology” is about know ­
    ing the difference.
    The Informatics o f Dom ination
    at an epistemological and political position, I
    would like to sketch a picture o f possible unity, a picture in­
    debted to socialist and feminist principles o f design. The frame for
    my sketch is set by the extent and importance o f rearrangements in
    worldwide social relations tied to science and technology. I argue
    for a politics rooted in claims about fundamental changes in the
    nature o f class, race, and gender in an emerging system o f w orld
    n t h is a t t e m p t
    Donna Haraway
    order analogous in its novelty and scope to that created by indus­
    trial capitalism; we are living through a movement from an or­
    ganic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system—
    from all work to all play, a deadly game. Simultaneously material
    and ideological, the dichotomies may be expressed in the follow­
    ing chart o f transitions from the comfortable old hierarchical domi­
    nations to the scary new networks I have called the informatics of
    Bourgeois novel, realism
    Depth, integrity
    Biology as clinical practice
    Small group
    Decadence, M a g ic M o u n ta in
    Microbiology, tuberculosis
    Organic division o f labor
    Functional specialization
    Organic sex role specialization
    Biological determinism
    Community ecology
    Racial chain o f being
    Scientific management in
    Family wage
    World War n
    White Capitalist Patriarchy
    Science fiction, post-modernism
    Biotic component
    Surface, boundary
    Biology as inscription
    Communications engineering
    Population control
    Obsolescence, F u tu re S h o ck
    Stress Management
    Immunology, a i d s
    Ergonomics/cybernetics o f labor
    Modular construction
    Optimal genetic strategies
    Evolutionary inertia, constraints
    Neo-imperialism, United
    Nations humanism
    Global factory/Electronic
    Women in the Integrated Circuit
    Comparable worth
    Cyborg citizenship
    Fields o f difference
    Communications enhancement
    Genetic engineering
    Artificial Intelligence
    Star Wars
    Informatics o f Domination
    T h is list suggests several interesting things .15 First, the obje
    on the right-hand side cannot be coded as “ natural,” a realization
    A Manifesto for Cyborgs
    that subverts naturalistic coding for the left-hand side as well. We
    cannot go back ideologically or materially. It’s not just that “ g o d ”
    is dead; so is the “ goddess.” In relation to objects like biotic com­
    ponents, one must think not in terms o f essential properties, but in
    terms o f strategies o f design, boundary constraints, rates o f flows,
    systems logics, costs o f lowering constraints. Sexual reproduction
    is one kind o f reproductive strategy among many, with costs and
    benefits as a function o f the system environment. Ideologies o f
    sexual reproduction can no longer reasonably call on the notions
    of sex and sex role as organic aspects in natural objects like orga­
    nisms and families. Such reasoning will be unmasked as irrational,
    and ironically corporate executives reading Playboy and anti-porn
    radical feminists will make strange bedfellows in jointly unmask­
    ing the irrationalism.
    Likewise for race, ideologies about human diversity have to be
    formulated in terms o f frequencies o f parameters, like blood groups
    or intelligence scores. It is “ irrational” to invoke concepts like
    primitive and civilized. For liberals and radicals, the search for
    integrated social systems gives way to a new practice called “ex­
    perimental ethnography” in which an organic object dissipates in
    attention to the play o f writing. At the level o f ideology, we see
    translations o f racism and colonialism into languages o f develop­
    ment and underdevelopment, rates and constraints o f moderniza­
    tion. Any objects or persons can be reasonably thought o f in terms
    of disassembly and reassembly; no “ natural” architectures con­
    strain system design. The financial districts in all the w orld’s cities,
    as well as the export-processing and free-trade zones, proclaim
    this elementary fact o f “ late capitalism.” The entire universe o f
    objects that can be known scientifically must be formulated as
    problems in communications engineering (for the managers) or
    theories o f the text (for those who would resist). Both are cyborg
    One should expect control strategies to concentrate on bound­
    ary conditions and interfaces, on rates o f flow across boundaries —
    and not on the integrity o f natural objects. “ Integrity” or “ sin­
    cerity” o f the Western self gives w ay to decision procedures and
    expert systems. For example, control strategies applied to w om ­
    en’s capacities to give birth to new human beings will be devel­
    oped in the languages o f population control and maximization o f
    goal achievement for individual decision-makers. Control strate­
    gies will be formulated in terms o f rates, costs o f constraints,
    Donna Haraway
    degrees o f freedom. Human beings, like any other component or
    subsystem, must be localized in a system architecture whose basic
    modes o f operation are probabilistic, statistical. N o objects, spaces,
    or bodies are sacred in themselves; any component can be inter­
    faced with any other if the proper standard, the proper code, can
    be constructed for processing signals in a common language. Ex­
    change in this world transcends the universal translation effected
    by capitalist markets that M arx analyzed so well. The privileged
    pathology affecting all kinds o f components in this universe is
    stress —communications breakdown.16 The cyborg is not subject
    to Foucault’s biopolitics; the cyborg simulates politics, a much
    more potent field o f operations.
    o f scientific and cultural objects of
    knowledge which have appeared historically since World War
    ii prepares us to notice some important inadequacies in feminist
    analysis which has proceeded as if the organic, hierarchical dual­
    isms ordering discourse in “ the West” since Aristotle still ruled.
    They have been cannibalized, or as Zoe Sofia (Sofoulis) might put
    it, they have been “ techno-digested.” The dichotomies between
    mind and body, animal and human, organism and machine, public
    and private, nature and culture, men and women, primitive and
    civilized are all in question ideologically. The actual situation of
    wom en is their integration/exploitation into a world system of
    production/reproduction and communication called the informat­
    ics o f domination. The home, workplace, market, public arena,
    the body itself—all can be dispersed and interfaced in nearly infi­
    nite, polymorphous ways, with large consequences for women
    and others —consequences that themselves are very different for
    different people and which make potent oppositional international
    movements difficult to imagine and essential for survival. One
    important route for reconstructing socialist-fem inist politics is
    through theory and practice addressed to the social relations of
    science and technology, including crucially the systems o f myth
    and meanings structuring our imaginations. The cyborg is a kind
    o f disassembled and reassembled, post-modern collective and per­
    sonal self. This is the self feminists must code.
    his k i n d
    of a n a l y s i s
    Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the cru­
    cial tools recrafting our bodies. These tools embody and enforce
    new social relations for women worldwide. Technologies and sci­
    entific discourses can be partially understood as formalizations,
    Manifesto for Cyborgs
    aS frozen moments, o f the fluid social interactions constituting
    ¿ern> but
    should also be viewed as instruments for enforcing
    meanings. The boundary is permeable between tool and myth,
    • strument and concept, historical systems o f social relations and
    historical anatomies o f possible bodies, including objects o f know ledge- Indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other.
    Furthermore, communications sciences and modern biologies
    gre constructed by a common m ove—the translation o f the world
    into a problem o f coding, a search for a common language in which
    all resistance to instrumental control disappears and all heterogene­
    ity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investment, and
    In communications sciences, the translation o f the world into a
    problem in coding can be illustrated by looking at cybernetic (feed­
    back controlled) systems theories applied to telephone technology,
    computer design, weapons deployment, or data base construction
    and maintenance. In each case, solution to the key questions rests
    on a theory o f language and control ; the key operation is deter­
    mining the rates, directions, and probabilities o f flow o f a quantity
    called information. The world is subdivided by boundaries differ­
    entially permeable to information. Information is just that kind o f
    quantifiable element (unit, basis o f unity) which allows universal
    translation, and so unhindered instrumental power (called effec­
    tive communication). The biggest threat to such power is inter­
    ruption o f communication. A ny system breakdown is a function
    of stress. The fundamentals o f this technology can be condensed
    into the metaphor c 3i, command-control-communication-intelli­
    gence, the m ilitary’s symbol for its operations theory.
    In modern biologies, the translation o f the world into a problem
    in coding can be illustrated by molecular genetics, ecology, sociobiological evolutionary theory, and immunobiology. The organism
    has been translated into problems o f genetic coding and read-out.
    Biotechnology, a writing technology, informs research broadly.17
    In a sense, organisms have ceased to exist as objects o f knowledge,
    giving w ay to biotic components, i.e., special kinds o f informa­
    tion processing devices. The analogous moves in ecology could be
    examined by probing the history and utility o f the concept o f the
    ecosystem. Immunobiology and associated medical practices are
    rich exemplars o f the privilege o f coding and recognition systems
    as objects o f knowledge, as constructions o f bodily reality for us.
    Donna Haraway
    Biology is here a kind o f cryptography. Research is necessarily a
    kind o f intelligence activity. Ironies abound. A stressed system
    goes aw ry; its communication processes break dow n; it fails to
    recognize the difference between self and other. Human babies
    with baboon hearts evoke national ethical perplexity —for animalrights activists at least as much as for guardians o f human purity.
    G ay men, Haitian immigrants, and intravenous drug users are
    the “ privileged” victims o f an awful immune-system disease that
    marks (inscribes on the body) confusion o f boundaries and moral
    But these excursions into communications sciences and biology
    have been at a rarefied level; there is a mundane, largely economic
    reality to support my claim that these sciences and technologies
    indicate fundamental transformations in the structure o f the world
    for us. Communications technologies depend on electronics. Mod­
    ern states, multinational corporations, military power, welfarestate apparatuses, satellite systems, political processes, fabrication
    o f our imaginations, labor-control systems, medical constructions
    o f our bodies, commercial pornography, the international division
    o f labor, and religious evangelism depend intimately upon elec­
    tronics. Microelectronics is the technical basis o f simulacra, i.e., of
    copies without originals.
    Microelectronics mediates the translations o f labor into robotics
    and word processing; sex into genetic engineering and reproduc­
    tive technologies; and mind into artificial intelligence and decision
    procedures. The new biotechnologies concern more than human
    reproduction. Biology as a powerful engineering science for re­
    designing materials and processes has revolutionary implications
    for industry, perhaps most obvious today in areas o f fermentation,
    agriculture, and energy. Communications sciences and biology are
    constructions o f natural-technical objects o f knowledge in which
    the difference between machine and organism is thoroughly
    blurred; mind, body, and tool are on very intimate terms. The
    “ multinational” material organization o f the production and rept°”
    duction o f daily life and the symbolic organization o f the produc­
    tion and reproduction o f culture and imagination seem equally
    implicated. The boundary-maintaining images o f base and super’
    structure, public and private, or material and ideal never seeme
    more feeble.
    I have used Rachel Grossman’s image o f women in the mt
    grated circuit to name the situation o f women in a world so in 1
    fr Manifesto for Cyborgs
    irately restructured through the social relations o f science and
    technology.18 I use the odd circumlocution, “ the social relations o f
    science and technology,” to indicate that we are not dealing with a
    technological determinism, but with a historical system depending
    upon structured relations among people. But the phrase should
    jjso indicate that science and technology provide fresh sources o f
    power, that we need fresh sources o f analysis and political action.19
    Some o f the rearrangements o f race, sex, and class rooted in hightech-facilitated social relations can make socialist feminism more
    relevant to effective progressive politics.
    The H om ework Econom y
    “ new
    in d u st ria l
    r e v o lu t io n ”
    is producing a n e w
    worldwide working class. The extreme mobility o f capital
    and the emerging international division o f labor are intertwined
    with the emergence o f new collectivities, and the weakening o f
    familiar groupings. These developments are neither gender- nor
    race-neutral. White men in advanced industrial societies have be­
    come newly vulnerable to permanent jo b loss, and women are not
    disappearing from the jo b rolls at the same rates as men. It is not
    simply that women in third-world countries are the preferred labor
    force for the science-based multinationals in the export-processing
    sectors, particularly in electronics. The picture is more systematic
    and involves reproduction, sexuality, culture, consumption, and
    production. In the prototypical Silicon Valley, many wom en’s lives
    have been structured around employment in electronics-dependent
    jobs, and their intimate realities include serial heterosexual monog­
    amy, negotiating childcare, distance from extended kin or most
    other forms o f traditional community, a high likelihood o f loneli­
    ness and extreme economic vulnerability as they age. The ethnic
    and racial diversity o f women in Silicon Valley structures a micro­
    cosm o f conflicting differences in culture, family, religion, educa­
    tion, language.
    Richard Gordon has called this new situation the homework
    economy.20 Although he includes the phenomenon o f literal home­
    work emerging in connection with electronics assembly, Gordon
    intends “ hom ework econom y” to name a restructuring o f w ork
    that broadly has the characteristics formerly ascribed to female
    jobs, jobs literally done only by women. Work is being redefined
    as both literally female and feminized, whether performed by men
    Donna Haraway
    or women. To be feminized means to be made extremely vulner­
    able; able to be disassembled, reassembled, exploited as a reserve
    labor force; seen less as workers than as servers; subjected to time
    arrangements on and o ff the paid jo b that make a mockery o f a
    limited w ork day; leading an existence that always borders on
    being obscene, out o f place, and reducible to sex. Deskilling is
    an old strategy newly applicable to formerly privileged workers.
    However, the homework economy does not refer only to largescale deskilling, nor does it deny that new areas o f high skill are
    emerging, even for women and men previously excluded from
    skilled employment. Rather, the concept indicates that factory,
    home, and market are integrated on a new scale and that the places
    o f women are crucial —and need to be analyzed for differences
    among women and for meanings for relations between men and
    women in various situations.
    The hom ework economy as a world capitalist organizational
    structure is made possible by (not caused by) the new technolo­
    gies. The successs o f the attack on relatively privileged, mostly
    white, men’s unionized jo b s is tied to the power o f the new com­
    munications technologies to integrate and control labor despite
    extensive dispersion and decentralization. The consequences o f the
    new technologies are felt by women both in the loss o f the family
    (male) wage (if they ever had access to this white privilege) and
    in the character o f their own jobs, which are becoming capitalintensive, e.g., office w ork and nursing.
    The new economic and technological arrangements are also re­
    lated to the collapsing welfare state and the ensuing intensification
    o f demands on women to sustain daily life for themselves as well
    as for men, children, and old people. The feminization o f poverty —generated by dismantling the welfare state, by the home­
    w ork economy where stable jobs become the exception, and sustained by the expectation that wom en’s wage will not be matched
    by a male income for the support o f children —has become an
    urgent focus. The causes o f various women-headed households are
    a function o f race, class, or sexuality; but their increasing general­
    ity is a ground for coalitions o f women on many issues. Tha®
    women regularly sustain daily life partly as a function o f thctf
    enforced status as mothers is hardly new ; the kind o f integration
    with the overall capitalist and progressively war-based economylS
    new. The particular pressure, for example, on u.s. black women,
    w ho have achieved an escape from (barely) paid domestic servi
    fi Manifesto for Cyborgs
    and who now hold clerical and similar jobs in large numbers, has
    large implications for continued enforced black poverty with em­
    ployment. Teenage women in industrializing areas o f the third
    world increasingly find themselves the sole or major source o f a
    cash wage for their families, while access to land is ever more
    problematic. These developments must have major consequences
    in the psychodynamics and politics o f gender and race.
    Within the framework o f three major stages o f capitalism (com­
    mercial/early industrial, monopoly, multinational) —tied to nation­
    alism, imperialism, and multinationalism, and related to Jam eson’s
    three dominant aesthetic periods o f realism, modernism, and post­
    modernism— I would argue that specific forms o f families dialecti­
    cally relate to forms o f capital and to its political and cultural
    concomitants. Although lived problematically and unequally, ideal
    forms o f these families might be schematized as (i) the patriarchal
    nuclear family, structured by the dichotomy between public and
    private and accompanied by the white bourgeois ideology o f sepa­
    rate spheres and nineteenth-century Anglo-Am erican bourgeois
    feminism; (2) the modern family mediated (or enforced) by the
    welfare state and institutions like the fam ily wage, with a flower­
    ing o f a-feminist heterosexual ideologies, including their radical
    versions represented in Greenwich Village around World War 1;
    and (3) the “ fam ily” o f the hom ework economy with its o x y moronic structure o f women-headed households and its explosion
    of feminisms and the paradoxical intensification and erosion o f
    gender itself.
    This is the context in which the projections for worldwide struc­
    tural unemployment stemming from the new technologies are part
    of the picture o f the hom ework economy. As robotics and related
    technologies put men out o f work in “ developed” countries and
    exacerbate failure to generate male jo b s in third-world “develop­
    ment,” and as the automated office becomes the rule even in laborsurplus countries, the feminization o f w ork intensifies. B lack
    women in the United States have long known what it looks like
    to face the structural underemployment (“ feminization” ) o f black
    men, as well as their own highly vulnerable position in the w age
    economy. It is no longer a secret that sexuality, reproduction,
    family, and community life are interwoven with this economic
    structure in myriad ways which have also differentiated the situa­
    tions o f white and black women. M any more wom en and men
    will contend with similar situations, which will make cross-gender
    Donna Haraway
    and race alliances on issues o f basic life support (with or without
    jobs) necessary, not just nice.
    also have a profound effect on hunger
    and on food production for subsistence worldwide. Rae Lessor
    Blum berg estimates that wom en produce about fifty per cent of
    the w orld’s subsistence food.21 * Women are excluded generally
    from benefiting from the increased high-tech commodification of
    food and energy crops, their days are made more arduous because
    their responsibilities to provide food do not diminish, and their
    reproductive situations are made more complex. Green Revolu­
    tion technologies interact with other high-tech industrial produc­
    tion to alter gender divisions o f labor and differential gender migra­
    tion patterns.
    h e n ew t e c h n o l o g ie s
    T he new technologies seem deeply involved in the forms of
    “ privatization” that Ros Petchesky has analyzed, in which mili­
    tarization, right-wing family ideologies and policies, and intensi­
    fied definitions o f corporate property as private synergistically
    interact.22 The new communications technologies are fundamental
    to the eradication o f “ public life” for everyone. This facilitates the
    mushrooming o f a permanent high-tech military establishment at
    the cultural and economic expense o f most people, but especially
    o f women. Technologies like video games and highly miniaturized
    television seem crucial to production o f modern forms o f “ private
    life.” The culture o f video games is heavily oriented to individual
    competition and extraterrestrial warfare. H igh-tech, gendered
    imaginations are produced here, imaginations that can contemplate
    destruction o f the planet and a sci-fi escape from its consequences.
    M ore than our imaginations is militarized; and the other realities
    o f electronic and nuclear warfare are inescapable.
    The new technologies affect the social relations o f both sexuality
    and o f reproduction, and not always in the same ways. The close
    ties o f sexuality and instrumentality, o f views o f the body as a kind
    o f private satisfaction- and utility-maximizing machine, are de­
    *T he conjunction o f the Green Revolution’s social relations with biotec ‘
    nologies like plant genetic engineering makes the pressures on land in £
    third world increasingly intense, a i d ’ s estimates (New York Times, 14 Octot>
    1984) used at the 1984 World Food Day are that in Africa, women produce
    about 90 per cent o f rural food supplies, about 60-80 per cent in Asia, an
    provide 40 per cent o f agricultural labor in the Near East and Latin AmericaBlum berg charges that world organizations’ agricultural politics, as wel
    Manifesto for Cyborgs
    scribed nicely in sociobiological origin stories that stress a genetic
    calculus and explain the inevitable dialectic o f domination o f male
    and female gender roles.23 These sociobiological stories depend on
    high-tech view o f the body as a biotic component or cybernetic
    communications system. Am ong the many transformations o f re­
    productive situations is the medical one, where w om en’s bodies
    have boundaries newly permeable to both “ visualization” and
    “intervention.” O f course, who controls the interpretation o f bod­
    ily boundaries in medical hermeneutics is a major feminist issue.
    The speculum served as an icon o f wom en’s claiming their bodies
    in the 1970s; that hand-craft tool is inadequate to express our
    needed body politics in the negotiation o f reality in the practices o f
    cyborg reproduction. Self-help is not enough. The technologies o f
    visualization recall the important cultural practice o f hunting with
    the camera and the deeply predatory nature o f a photographic
    consciousness.24 Sex, sexuality, and reproduction are central actors
    in high-tech myth systems structuring our imaginations o f per­
    sonal and social possibility.
    Another critical aspect o f the social relations o f the new tech­
    nologies is the reformulation o f expectations, culture, work, and
    reproduction for the large scientific and technical w ork force. A
    major social and political danger is the formation o f a strongly
    bimodal social structure, with the masses o f women and men o f all
    ethnic groups, but especially people o f color, confined to a home­
    work economy, illiteracy o f several varieties, and general redun­
    dancy and impotence, controlled by high-tech repressive appara­
    tuses ranging from entertainment to surveillance and disappear­
    ance. An adequate socialist-feminist politics should address women
    in the privileged occupational categories, and particularly in the
    production o f science and technology that constructs scientifictechnical discourses, processes, and objects.25
    This issue is only one aspect o f inquiry into the possibility o f a
    feminist science, but it is important. What kind o f constitutive role
    in the production o f knowledge, imagination, and practice can
    new groups doing science have? H ow can these groups be allied
    with progressive social and political movements? What kind o f
    those o f multinationals and national governments in the third world, gener­
    ally ignore fundamental issues in the sexual division o f labor. The present
    tragedy o f famine in Africa might owe as much to male supremacy as to
    capitalism, colonialism, and rain patterns. More accurately, capitalism and
    racism are usually structurally male dominant.
    Donna Haraway
    political accountability can be constructed to tie wom en together
    across the scientific-technical hierarchies separating us? Might there
    be ways o f developing feminist science/technology politics in alli­
    ance with anti-military science facility conversion action groups?
    M any scientific and technical workers in Silicon Valley, the hightech cowboys included, do not want to work on military science.26
    Can these personal preferences and cultural tendencies be welded
    into progressive politics among this professional middle class in
    which women, including women o f color, are coming to be fairly
    Women in the Integrated Circuit
    the picture o f wom en’s historical locations in
    f advanced industrial societies, as these positions have been re­
    structured partly through the social relations o f science and tech­
    nology. If it was ever possible ideologically to characterize wom­
    en’s lives by the distinction o f public and private domains —sug­
    gested by images o f the division o f working-class life into factory
    and home, o f bourgeois life into market and home, and o f gender
    existence into personal and political realms —it is now a totally
    misleading ideology, even to show how both terms o f these di­
    chotomies construct each other in practice and in theory. I prefer a
    network ideological image, suggesting the profusion o f spaces and
    identities and the permeability o f boundaries in the personal body
    and in the body politic. “ N etw orking” is both a feminist practice
    and a multinational corporate strategy —weaving is for opposi­
    tional cyborgs.
    e t m e s u m m a r iz e
    The only w ay to characterize the informatics o f domination is as
    a massive intensification o f insecurity and cultural impoverish­
    ment, with common failure o f subsistence networks for the most
    vulnerable. Since much o f this picture interweaves with the social
    relations o f science and technology, the urgency o f a socialistfeminist politics addressed to science and technology is plain. Thei

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