The Cyborg Body: The Regulation of the Human Body in Medicine

Judith Nicogossian
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The opposition between human and nonhuman has been made through the traditional dichotomies human/animal and human/monster. To these, through the evolution of technology we can now add human/robot. What differentiated the human from the animal was that the former possessed a soul and strict religious rules to safeguard this essence. Today’s medicine challenges disabled bodies, by the use of prostheses and scientific machinery but raises questions about maintaining the opposition between the human subject and the technological object. In this paper I will examine the challenge to notions of subject and object which is incarnated by the prosthetic body in medicine. I will compare the post-modernist denial of the human essence with the tenacity of this concept in medical discourses about the prosthetic body.

Keywords: Prosthetic Body (Medicine), Norms and Politics, Object/Subject
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Judith Nicogossian

PhD Student, Department of Research for Social Change (Humanities), Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I work on how technology interacts with the human body, through the metaphor of the cyborg. Criss-crossing different disciplines my research focusses on the study of the prosthetic body in Medicine (in cotutelle with the Université de Médecine, Marseilles, France), the cyborg body in Cybernetics (embedded by the australian performing artist Stelarc) and the philosophical representation of the cyborg body in Japanese Animations. I belong to Cultural Studies, and I'm particularly interested in the discourses stressing out the relationship object/subject, as well as the philosophical and the socio-political use of the fantasy.

Ref: I07P0193