The Cyborg, Its Friends and Feminist Theories of Materiality

  • Anne-Jorunn BergEmail author


Donna Haraway’s Cyborg lived between fiction and fact in a real and virtual world and in the 1980 s even ignited its own manifesto. Currently the ontology of the so called material turn is high on the feminist (and elsewhere) theoretical agenda. I argue that the material turn can benefit from insights from Haraway’s early work on the Cyborg that are often forgotten. The Cyborg opposed strongly the distinction between nature and culture, the social and the technological or sex and gender. The Cyborg Manifesto is a pointed warning against continuing to relate to meaning or culture as something distinct from nature. Moreover it means that the material-semiotic understands nature as something changeable and in movement. Today Karen Barad is often mentioned as central to the renewed interest in feminist theories of materiality. I discuss her concept of ‘agential realism’ in more detail to establish a conversation between ‘agential realism’ and the Cyborg. Barad’s ideas are heavily dependent on her new reading of Niels Bohr and quantum mechanics. The Cyborg solves questions of materiality in other ways, through the concept of the material-semiotic, a concept that explicitly includes politics/criticism and which could greatly contribute to feminist theory and research practices.


Feminist theory Materiality Science and technology studies Cyborg Sex/gender 


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nord UniversityBodoNorway

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