In illusion (Carson & Pajaczkowska, 2001, chapter 13). She

In Haraway’s ‘a manifesto
for cyborgs’, she states that a cyborg is a, “hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well
as a creature of fiction” (1985, p. 571). From this, it can be seen that
boundaries between nature and culture are challenged by sociological changes.
For Haraway, she believed that the boundary between what is reality and fiction
was an illusion (Carson & Pajaczkowska, 2001, chapter
13). She went on to further explain that there are three boundaries: humans and
animals, human-animal and machines and finally, physical and non-physical
states (Carson & Pajaczkowska, 2001, chapter 13). It has
been established that the idea of a cyborg is the joining of a human being and
an electronic apparatus but, she also places the identity of women onto the
image of a cyborg. She states that it is the only identity for women in the 20th
century, and believes that changes to humans through sophisticated technologies,
challenge our status (Hovenden, Janes, Kirkup & Woodward, 2000, p. 152).
The cyborg creates a challenge for feminism to look for ways to study the body in
relation to science and technology (Grebowicz & Merrick, 2013, p. 28).

For Haraway, she
believes we live in a cyborg culture where she describes the postmodern social state
maybe about the joining of animals and machines to humans which people are not
afraid of doing (Lancaster, 1999, p. 6). This view is also supported by Frederic
Jameson who would argue that, we do in fact live in a virtual age where
technologies and humans are able to combine creating this cyborg culture
(Lancaster, 1999, p. 6). An example where this can be seen is in the medical
field where it is now common, for someone who has lost a body part to have
implants or prosthetics such as artificial limbs assisting them (Grenville,
2001, p. 28). Potential Cyborg figures can also be assisting dogs, pacemaker
and wheelchair users (Goodley, Hughes & Davis, 2012, p. 94). However, it
has also been argued that there is a difference between assistive technology
and prosthetic technology. Assistive technology both assists with independent
living and work activities. Calling all technological devices as ‘assistive’
can complicate our understanding of its meaning. Referring to voice recognition
and decoders as assistive technologies reinforces our dependency on them and
tracks the technologies to consumer groups, which have little benefit from them
(Ott, Serlin & Mihm, 2002. p. 21). What we class as assistive technologies,
moulds the extent to what we class as living in a cyborg culture and to what
degree we live in cyberculture. If our phones are classed as assistive
technologies, then the extent to which we live in this cyborg culture increases
compared to if we only class prosthetics as being cyborg.

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The body has been
referred to as a ‘mosaic of detachable pieces’ by scholars such as Braidotti. This
supports Haraway’s view that we live in a cyborg culture as she believed we
were organs without bodies (Howson, 2013, p. 109). It has been argued that
increasing technology have made things like tissues and cells go form invisible
to visible (Fraser, 1999, p. 41). Issues are raised with this ability to
transfer body parts from one person to another. Zylinska (2002, p. 10) wrote
that not only does this cyborg society show new boundaries, but can also change
ethical and political norms regarding body ownership. Technologies have enabled
parts such as, kidneys, hearts, eggs and other body parts to be moved from one
person to another (Oudshoom, 1994, p. 4). It is difficult to see how life
begins with egg and sperm, but even at this stage the human sperm could be
cyborgised and mechanised. When talking about reproductive technologies it is
referred to as codependence rather than interdependence (Gray, 2001, p. 88).
The extent to which we live in a cyborg culture has escalated to the
modification of the first cells to create life. Although these development’s
support Haraway’s views of us living in a cyborg culture, Davis- Floyd and
Dumit show that there is a line between mutilation and improvement. We need to
be looking for when technologies become damaging to the environment and have
negative impacts rather than enhancing it (Gray, 2001, p. 88) the issue with
this view is that it is almost impossible to draw the line which means this
cyborg culture can escalate to be damaging.

The idea of cyborgs is
not just experienced in one form such as prosthetics. This idea of a cyborg
culture is very fluid and it is based on how fluid the idea of cyborgs is, that
determines the extent to which we live in such culture. Gupta and Ritchers
believed that the body was capable of being transformed from a reproductive
body to a productive body, as body parts can be marketed and so there is a
global movement of which allow body parts to be sold (Howson, 2013, p. 108).
Body parts are able to be changed into other essential substances, for example,
tissues can be changed to cell lines. From this it is seen that body boundaries
have a high level of fluidity, which reinforces Braidotti’s view that the body
is a ‘mosaic of detachable pieces’ (Howson, 2013, p. 109).

Haraway Further develops
this idea of a cyborg when she refers to the cyborg world being similar to that
of a sci-fi scenario, it is common to associate such scenarios with things such
as robots, however, for humans it is the constant use of our phones and laptops
which can track our location and it is these technological progressions that
have caused technology to be attached to our bodies. Further to this, cyborgs
are used in war and military in order to create destruction and domination. The
human and the cyborg create destruction which according to Haraway, is a
dangerous way that the cyborg culture is progressing. Looking at the cyborg as
war machine can create a sense of rejecting cyborgs, however, she said we must
look for alternatives such as other places cyborgs may be (Bell, 2004, p. 55).
Looking at cyborgs as troubling suggests a way forward and allowing the cyborg
into our society encourages us to reshape our relationship with technology, and
to also prevent a process of binary thinking. From this it can be seen that
Haraway is clear that we do currently live in a cyborg culture which has
stretched as far as the use of cyborgs in war, but, this cyborg culture is
still developing and can offer us the chance for new encounters with cybernetic
organisms which can also allow us to progress in society (Bell, 2004, p. 55).

As the cyborg embodies
both human and machines, the hybrid is neither purely human or purely machine. Its
dual character is never symmetrical and Haraway believed that the cyborg has
the potential to change the dualistic boundaries (Balsamo, 1996, p. 33). Her
dualisms include reproduction/replication, representation/simulation (Freitas,
2005, p. 253) but common dualism that can be concerning is male and female. She
states that, “one is too few but, two are too many” (Haraway, 1985, p. 313), she
tries to breach the boundaries of male and female and promotes the ‘other’
which is the cyborg. She uses the image of the cyborg to show how it can
surpass the binary systems and shows how they can act as an alternative to the
western view on patriarchal power (Freitas, 2005, p. 253) Although the cyborg
image can be seen as dangerous and damaging, Haraway also shows how significant
and important they can be in regards to feminism and so should be looked at as
a positive alternative which can change societies ways of thinking about things.
She writes that women should not be seen as superior to men as they have just
as many flaws as they do attractive qualities (Haraway, 1985, p. 311), this
reinforces her views that the binary view of male and female needs to be
changed, and the boundaries should be forgotten. The cyborg challenges feminism
to study the body at once as a cultural construction as well as a material fact
of human life (Balsamo, 1996, p. 33). She also ends by saying “I’d rather be a
cyborg than a Goddess”, (Haraway, 1985, p. 316) this indicates that the study
of the basic structure of reality needs to examine and evaluate cyber-feminism.
Her aim was to create a new way of looking at female’s relationship to the world
by promoting the cyborg and showing the benefits this increasing cyborg can
have to how we live in society today (Bowen, 2007, p. 140).

As it has been
mentioned, this rise in cyborg culture can cause issues with identity and
ownership. Lupton and Seymour believed that this fusion with humans and
machines can create questions about selfhood as we can become altered by
human-machine interactions (Howson, 2013, p. 111). Furthermore, not only does
this support Haraway’s proposition that we do live in a cyborg culture,
Toffoletti, also raises issues with the increasing technologies that can
increase the extent to which we live in such culture. Additions to the
boundaries through biotechnologies can challenge the identity and what we class
as human (Howson, 2013, p. 111).

Floyd and Dumit wrote
for the support of Haraway. They believed that we are engaged in cyborgs, they
are involved in our media and language and although it is difficult to draw the
line between enhancing and destructing a natural process however, we still
continue to live on this cyber-cultural lifestyle (Floyd & Dumit, 2013, p. 1).
Haraway mentioned that “we are all cyborgs now”, as stated previously this can
also be linked to our constant use and reliance on technological devices such
as our phones or laptops. Furthermore, this reinforces the view that that the
boundary between human and machines or artificial and natural has become
increasingly unclear as humans become blurred in postmodern identities
(Woliver, 2002, p. 155).

Overall, it can be seen
that we do in fact live in a cyborg culture like Haraway argued, however the
extent to which we live in one is determined by what individuals class as a
‘cyborg’. For example, most people would agree that the use of prosthetics is
classified as living in a cyborg culture, however, whether things such as phone
voice recognition and decoders are categorised as fitting in to a cyborg
culture is dependent on the individual, and therefore, the extent to which we
can agree with Haraway, depends on our view on what is a cyborg. In this case
things such as voice identification can be seen as cyborg as they do use the joining
of human and machine (voice and phone) and thus Haraway’s view on us living in
a cyborg culture is supported to a high extent.

                                                                 

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