March 7, 2017

Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought by Patricia Melzer

By Patricia Melzer

Although set in different worlds populated by means of alien beings, technological know-how fiction is a website the place people can critique and re-imagine the paradigms that form this international, from basics resembling the intercourse and gender of the physique to international strength relatives between sexes, races, and countries. Feminist thinkers and writers are more and more spotting technological know-how fiction's strength to shatter patriarchal and heterosexual norms, whereas the creators of technological know-how fiction are bringing new intensity and complexity to the style through enticing with feminist theories and politics. This publication maps the intersection of feminism and technology fiction via shut readings of technological know-how fiction literature by way of Octavia E. Butler, Richard Calder, and Melissa Scott and the films "The Matrix" and the "Alien" sequence. Patricia Melzer analyzes how those authors and flicks symbolize debates and ideas in 3 parts of feminist suggestion: identification and distinction, feminist evaluations of technology and expertise, and the connection between gender id, physique, and wish, together with the hot gender politics of queer wishes, transgender, and intersexed our bodies and identities. She demonstrates that key political components form those debates, together with worldwide capitalism and exploitative type kinfolk inside of a turning out to be foreign procedure; the influence of desktop, business, and scientific applied sciences on women's lives and reproductive rights; and post-human embodiment as expressed via biotechnologies, the body/machine interface, and the commodification of hope. Melzer's research makes it transparent that feminist writings and readings of technological know-how fiction are a part of a feminist critique of present energy family members - and that the alien buildings (cyborgs, clones, androids, extraterrestrial beings, and hybrids) that populate post-modern technology fiction are as in all likelihood empowering as they're threatening.

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They are concerned with women’s position regarding structures of scientific inquiry and the impact of new technologies. Feminist theorists of science and knowledge criticize the Cartesian approach in Western science that positions the scientist as a neutral observer opposing an inert natural world. Instead, they argue, scientific knowledge entails power and holds social and political authority. Feminist science critics view scientific knowledge as patriarchal knowledge, based on the ‘‘god trick’’ perspective that defines the scientist as the knower and that values knowledge that is disconnected from the social world.

As a semiotic tool—a metaphor—the cyborg foregrounds representation and the constructions of cultural meaning, drawing both science and economic theories and their representations into the analysis of power relations. And, finally, the cyborg addresses the pressing questions of agency and posthuman subjectivity. In her theorizing, Haraway has been directly inspired by the writing of science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, and in general she approaches ‘‘science fiction [as] political theory’’ (Haraway, How Like a Leaf 120).

One of cyborg feminism’s main concerns is the embodiment of interrelations of technoscience. The cyborg and related figures are understood to be material fictions within a system of domination, and their bodies simultaneously represent and create cultural meaning. The female body is always seen in an ambivalent relationship to technology and the power discourses involved—the feminist cyborg metaphor is fully aware of Foucault’s bio-power, which shapes and marks bodies. Thus the cyborg as an empowering political identity is critically revisited by Anne Balsamo, who, in Technologies of the Gendered Body (1996), examines how the body is simultaneously material and produced by discursive technologies, and how a postmodern reconstruction of bodies often reproduces notions and structures of sexual difference.

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