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Body Drift

Body Drift: Butler, Hayles, Haraway

Series: Posthumanities
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Body Drift
    Book Description:

    As exemplary representatives of a form of critical feminism, the writings of Judith Butler, Katherine Hayles, and Donna Haraway offer entry into the great crises of contemporary society, politics, and culture. Butler leads readers to rethink the boundaries of the human in a time of perpetual war. Hayles turns herself into a "writing machine" in order to find a dwelling place for the digital humanities within the austere landscape of the culture of the code. Haraway is the one contemporary thinker to have begun the necessary ethical project of creating a new language of potential reconciliation among previously warring species.

    According to Arthur Kroker, the postmodernism of Judith Butler, the posthumanism of Katherine Hayles, and the companionism of Donna Haraway are possible pathways to the posthuman future that is captured by the specter ofbody drift. Body drift refers to the fact that individuals no longer inhabit abody, in any meaningful sense of the term, but rather occupy a multiplicity of bodies: gendered, sexualized, laboring, disciplined, imagined, and technologically augmented.

    Body drift is constituted by the blast of information culture envisioned by artists, communicated by social networking, and signified by its signs. It is lived daily by remixing, resplicing, and redesigning the codes: codes of gender, sexuality, class, ideology, and identity. The writings of Butler, Hayles, and Haraway, Kroker reveals, provide the critical vocabulary and political context for understanding the deep complexities of body drift and challenging the current emphasis on the material body.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8182-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. 1-28)

    Body driftis everywhere in culture and society.

    Though it was anticipated that the speed and intensity of technological change would effectively marginalize concern with the body, highlighting the digital rather than the corporeal, subordinating human flesh to data flesh, quite the opposite has occurred. Images of the corporeal body are the key visual language of contemporary politics. We may live in the shadow of an empire of cyber-power with what the German theorist Peter Sloterdijk has described as “terror from the air,” but the messianic goals of “total information warfare” are effectively stymied by bombs strapped to bodies of...

    (pp. 29-62)

    Could there be any text more appropriate to both understanding and perhaps, if the winds of fate are favorable,transformingcontemporary politics than Judith Butler’s eloquent study of moral philosophy,Giving an Account of Oneself?

    Resisting the most powerful political currents of the times, breaking decisively with the regulatory regime of normativity, speaking eloquently, passionately, historically about another ethics, another body, another space, Butler injects into contemporary public debate something that was thought to have been lost forever: what she herself once described as the “shameless impurity” of Antigone—not Antigone as a haunting figure of the eternal struggle between...

    (pp. 63-100)

    With the writings of Katherine Hayles, complexity theory is transformed from its origins in the scientific epistēmē, becoming the basis of a worldview that not only grounds the study of electronic textuality in a “new materialism” but also transforms the concept of complexity itself into the essence of a more comprehensive vision of culture, society, and the body.

    Refusing to honor traditional divisions between science and literature, Hayles’ thought does that which is more difficult, yet ultimately more insightful. Her theoretical analysis actually folds the very latest configurations in the new science of complexity together with literature (both print and...

    (pp. 101-136)

    There is a painting by the Canadian artist Alex Colville that powerfully captures, although in reverse image, the theoretical imagination of Donna Haraway. TitledHorse and Train, the painting registers an approaching collision of two radically dissimilar forces—the mechanical technology of the speeding train running on its fixed track and the beautiful, but possibly doomed, spirit of the horse. No merger of the two is possible; their only future is either the death of the animal or, perhaps, one of them suddenly ceding place to the other: the train stops in time or the horse suddenly veers away. With...

    (pp. 137-144)

    What is the future of the body in a society inscribed by the regime of computation, mobilized by increasingly phantasmagoric visions of the war on terror, and resistant to the perspective of companion species?

    The writings of Butler, Hayles, and Haraway are at the epicenter of contemporary political debate. Not only have they explored in theoretical detail the framework of contemporary subjectivity, whether cast in the language of gender, computation, or genomic biology, but they have done so in a way that has produced key visions of contemporary society. What is most evident in the intellectual trajectories traced by these...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 145-150)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 151-164)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-167)