Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 375–385 | Cite as

Developing/development cyborgs

  • Casper Bruun Jensen


The paper takes as its starting point Donna Haraway’s suggestion, “The actors are cyborg, nature is coyote, and the geography is elsewhere”. It discusses first the understanding of the cyborg promoted by Haraway as illustrating an ontological non-humanist disposition, rather than a periodizing claim. The second part of the paper examines some instances of low-tech cyborg identities, which have emerged in developing countries (elsewhere) as a consequence of development initiatives. The paper argues that the quite literal attempts to develop cyborgs in such countries gives rise to developments not foreseen or controllable by the development industries. If cyborg identities are developing and minds and bodies shaped in the frictions between culture, technology, economy, and development projects and activities then what are the implications for cognitive studies. In the final part of the paper this question is considered and it is suggested that cognitive studies would do well to expand their analytical foci to take into account cyborg bodies and minds found “elsewhere”.


Embodiment Cognition Cyborg Development Ontology Technology 


  1. Battaglia, D. (2007). Where do we find our monsters? In J. P. Edwards, P. Harvey, & P. Wade (Eds.), Anthropology of science: Epistemologies in practice (pp. 153–170). New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  2. Boden, M. A. (2006). Mind as machine: A history of cognitive science. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  3. Bowers, J. (1992). The politics of formalism. In M. Lea (Ed.), Contexts of computer-mediated communication (pp. 232–261). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  4. Bowker, G. C. (2005). Memory practices in the sciences. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, J. (1989). Sexual ideology and phenomenology description: A feminist critique of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception. In J. Allen & I. M. Young (Eds.), The thinking muse: Feminism and modern French philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Christie, J. (1992). A tragedy for cyborgs. Configurations, 1(1), 171–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A. (2003). Natural born cyborgs: Minds, technologies and the future of human intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Despret, V. (2004). Our emotional make-up: Ethnopsychology and selfhood. New York: Other Press.Google Scholar
  9. Downey, G. L., Dumit, J., et al. (1998). Cyborgs and citadels—Anthropological interventions in emerging sciences and technologies. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fortun, K. (2001). Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, disaster, new global orders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gonzalez, J. (1995). Envisioning cyborg bodies. In C. H. Gray (Ed.), The cyborg handbook (pp. 267–280). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Hacking, I. (1998). Canguilhem amid the cyborgs. Economy and Society, 27(2/3), 202–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haraway, D. (1991a). Simians, cyborgs, and women: The reinvention of nature. London: Free Association Books.Google Scholar
  14. Haraway, D. (1991b). The subjects are cyborg, nature is coyote, and the geography is elsewhere. In C. Penley & A. Ross (Eds.), Technoculture (pp. 21–26). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  15. Haraway, D. (2007). Crittercam: Compounding eyes in NatureCulture. In E. M. Selinger (Ed.), Postphenomenology: A critical companion to Ihde. Albany: Suny.Google Scholar
  16. Hartman, B. (1987). Reproductive rights and wrongs: The global politics of population control and contraceptive choice. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  17. Hayden, C. P. (2003). When nature goes public: The making and unmaking of bio- prospecting in Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hess, D. (1995). On low-tech cyborgs. In C. H. Gray (Ed.), The cyborg handbook (pp. 371–379). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Ihde, D. (2001). Bodies in technology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  20. Jensen, C. B. (2004). A non-humanist disposition: On performativity, practical ontology, and intervention. Configurations, 12(2), 229–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  22. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1996). The phenomenology of perception. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Munro, I. (2001). Informated identities and the spread of the word virus. Ephemera, 1(2), 149–162.Google Scholar
  24. Petryna, A. (2002). Life exposed: Biological citizens after chernobyl. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Roitman, J. (2005). The garrison-entrepôt: A mode of governing in the Chad basin. In A. Ong & S. J. Collier (Eds.), Global assemblages: Technology, politics, and ethics as anthropological problems (pp. 417–436). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. Tsing, A. L. (1993). In the realm of the diamond queen: Marginality in an out-of-the-way- place. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Tsing, A. L. (2005). Friction: An ethnography of global connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Verran, H. (2001). Science and an African logic. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  29. Wolmark, J. (1999). Cybersexualities—A reader on feminist theory, cyborgs and cyberspace. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Young, I. M. (1990). Throwing like a girl: A phenomenology of feminine body comportment, motility, and spatiality. In I. M. Young (Ed.), Throwing like a girl and other essays in feminist philosophy and social theory (pp. 141–159). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrganizationCopenhagen Business SchoolCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations