Plugged In: Psychology, Technology and Popular Culture

  • Betty M. Bayer


This chapter focuses on different moments in twentieth century history of human-machine pairings in popular culture and psychology. Characterizing these moments as shifts from early twentieth century “bodies as machines-in-motion” to bodies-as-codes and to codes-as-identity, human-machine couplings serve to elucidate how these transformations brought about changes in gender meanings even as they continued to secure a social and psychological order of heterosexuality. These couplings were likewise charged psychologically with marking off normative from pathological configurations and relations, including machines as madness-in-motion and hysterical breakdowns in social and psychological identity. Using these case studies, the chapter argues to place technology at the centre of feminist and critical psychology and to make this work historical.


Popular Culture Human Motor Critical Psychology Gender Politics Psychological Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bales, R. F. (1955). How people interact in conferences. Scientific American, 192, (3), 31–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayer, B. M. (1999). Psychological ethics and cyborg body politics. In A. J. Gordo-López & I. Parker (Eds), Cyberpsychology (pp. 113–129 ). London: MacMillan Press Ltd.Google Scholar
  3. Boring, E. G. (1946). Mind and mechanism. The American Journal of Psychology, 59, 173–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buhle, M. J. (1998). Feminism and its discontents: A century of struggle with psychoanalysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dewdney, C. (1999) We, Robots? Globe and Mail (Feb. 27 ) D15.Google Scholar
  6. Edwards, P. N. (1996). The closed world: Computers and the politics of discourse in cold war America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Foster, Thomas (1996). “The sex appeal of the inorganic”: Posthuman narratives and the construction of desire. In R. Newman (Ed.), Centuries’ ends, narrative means (pp. 276–301 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Garber, M. (1998). Symptoms of culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Giedion, S. (1948/1969). Mechanization takes command. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Haraway, D.J. (1997). ModestWitness@Second Millenium.FemaleMan_Meets_Onco- Mouse. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Hayles, K. (1999). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hillis, D. (1998). The big picture. Wired, January, 38.Google Scholar
  13. Kahane, C. (1995). Passions of the voice: Hysteria, narrative, and the figure of the speaking woman, 1850–1915. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Keller, E. F. (1996). The dilemma of scientific subjectivity in postvital culture. In P. Galison & D. J. Stump (Eds), The disunity of science: Boundaries, contexts, and power (pp. 417–427 ). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Lanier, J. (1998). Taking stock. Wired, January, 60–62.Google Scholar
  16. Noble, D. F. (1997). The religion of technology: The divinity of man and the spirit of invention. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  17. Rabinbach, A. (1990). The human motor: Energy, fatigue, and the origins of modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Sedgwick, E. K. (1990). Epistemology of the closet. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Seltzer, M. (1992). Bodies and machines. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Slane, A. (1997). Vulnerabilities. In J. Terry & M. Calvert (Eds), Processed lives: Gender and technology in everyday life. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Springer, C. (1996). Electronic eros: Bodies and desire in the postindustrial age. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  21. Turing, A. M. (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy, 59, 433–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Uglow, J. (1996). Introduction: ‘Possibility.’ In F. Spufford & J. Uglow (Eds), Cultural Babbage: Technology, time and invention (pp. 1–23 ). London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  23. Ullman, E. (1999). The myth of order. Wired, April, 126–129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty M. Bayer
    • 1
  1. 1.Hobart and William Smith CollegesUSA

Personalised recommendations