Haraway

April 22, 2007

Imagine my disappointment when I saw the word ‘cyborg’ in the title, only the read this piece and not find one reference to the Terminator trilogy.  Shame, that really could have terminator.jpghelped Haraway. 

On page 2269 Haraway defines a cyborg as “a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.”  Haraway uses the image of the cyborg because she sees technology and the use of it as becoming essential to what it means to be human. 

On page 2272 she writes, “Our machines are disturbingly livley, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”  As technology progresses and advances we are making it so that these machines are capable of doing more and more.  And are at the same time making it so that we are having ever less to do. 

Haraway speaks on gender roles on page 2275, “There 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 discourses and other social practices.  Gender, race, or class consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical experience of the contradictory social realities of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism.”  What Haraway is saying is that there is nothing natural about labeling people by race, gender, or class, these distinctions have all been created and put on people.

Under the section about The Homework Economy Haraway writes, “Work is being redefined as both literally female and feminized, whether performed by men or women.  To be feminized means to be made extremely vulnerable; able to be disassembled, reassembled, exploited as a reserve labor force; seen less as workers than as servers; subjected to time arrangements on and off the paid job that make a mockery of a limited work day; leading an existence that always borders on being obscene, out of place, and reducible to sex.”  What I think this means is that Haraway sees the work force becoming more positions of service, which is where the feminized part comes in.  When I read this part I kind of thought of Disgrace.  In particular David, and how after losing his distinguished job as a professor, he helped Lucy on the farm and then took work helping Bev Shaw with the animals.  In both instances he was helping women.

That’s all I’ve got for Haraway, I know it’s not much but this was a hard piece to grasp.  I would like to thank Aliya for graciously volunteering to cover Haraway in our carnival.  If it had been me, then that section of our carnival would probably just be filled with not much information, but a lot of picutres of robots.  Like this  number5.jpg

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4 Responses to “Haraway”

  1. carawhalen said

    I thought that your blog pointed out a lot of great points, and actually covered the point I made regarding gender roles. I too used the quote, “There 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 discourses and other social practices. Gender, race, or class consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical experience…”(2275). Personally, I focused a majority of my blog on this quote because of how much information it contains. I too had a diffucult time grasping all the concepts that were discussed throughout Haraway’s work. Great Job!!!

  2. kelliem said

    Hahaha. I love the way you ended that. That’s probably how my page on Haraway would have looked like, too. I’m glad you brought up homework economy today, because yesterday, I felt like I almost had it, but needed clarification. When I read it, I got the part about men losing their jobs due to technological advances, but I was a little miffed that a feminist writer like Haraway would stereotype jobs as either masculine or feminine. But I think what she means is that the hard-labor jobs that had been dominated by men were considered by men to be, well, “manly,” as opposed to non-manual labor jobs like officework. And once technology came in to “save” us from back-breaking work, men were forced to forsake a part of their masculinity by leaving these jobs. Even then, though, I feel like Haraway is unfairly judging men, because I’m sure not all men hold construction work to be the perfect testosterone rush. Come on. Anyway, kudos on connecting Haraway to Disgrace. I didn’t think of it before, but David’s “work” changes dramatically after he leaves the university, and that’s a perfect fit for explaining the feminization of work.

  3. annieeinna said

    The Cyborg idea was really hard to comprehend for me. I had no idea what it was at first and I really connected it to star track or something. It is true though, or lives are run by machines. Its insane. As I stated in class, my Grandmother would be dead right now if it was not for her oxygen which has saved her life these past few weeks. Its like we can not remove technology. Very few of us can survive with out the current (semi-current) technology we have developed. The distinctions we (as humans) have greatly created and placed on people. Its amazing how instead of seeing eachother as a “human race” we see eachother as black, white, fat, skinny…its sick. Although this was our last post, I think it was very interesting. It was hard to get through, but we did!

  4. Cara said

    Ryan, I agree with a lot of what you say here. I agree with you that “Haraway sees the work force becoming more positions of service, which is where the feminized part comes in.” I thought the same thing when I first read this. I really liked your example that you used. I thought since we spent so much time on Disgrace, I understood it in connection with your post. When you said “What Haraway is saying is that there is nothing natural about labeling people by race, gender, or class, these distinctions have all been created and put on people” all I could think of was Butler and her ideas. I keep thinking of Butler’s idea of gender not existing if people were not performing gender-like things. I wonder what she would say about Haraway’s piece? I may be wrong, but I think she might disagree with Haraway’s labeling idea. If I remember correctly, Butler did see gender as something that is learned instead of biological, right? So, if this is true, then I do not think that she would have a problem with labeling becasue if gender is learned, then, in a way, you are choosing what you want to be. In this sense, labeling would not be so bad because you are choosing your label. I probably just confsued you with that whole thing, but It kind of makes sense to me, even though I’m probably wrong. Anyway, great post!

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