Cyborg Babies

CyborgBabies

From Techno-sex to Techno-tots

Edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Joseph Dumit

(Routledge, Aug 1998)


From fetuses scanned ultrasonically to computer hackers in daycare, contemporary children are increasingly rendered cyborg by their immersion in technoculture. As we are faced with reproductive choices connected directly with technologies, we often have trouble gaining perspective on our own cultural co-dependency with these very same technologies. Our notions of fetal health, maternal risk and child IQ are inseparable from them. Cyborg Babies tracks the process of reproducing children in symbiosis with pervasive technology and offers a range of perspectives, from resistance to ethnographic analysis to science fiction. Cultural anthropologists and social critics offer cutting-edge ethnographies, critiques, and personal narratives of cyborg conceptions (sperm banks, IVF, surrogacy) and prenatal (mis)diagnosis (DES, ultrasound, amniocentesis); the technological de- and reconstruction of birth in the hospital (electronic fetal monitors, epidurals); and the effects of computer simulation games and cyborg toys and stories on children’s emergent consciousness. Examining the increasing cyborgification of the American child, from conception through birth and beyond, Cyborg Babies considers its implications for human cultural and psychological evolution.


CONTENTS

Joseph Dumit and Robbie Davis-Floyd
Introduction, Cyborg Babies: Children of the Third Millenium

PART I – CYBORG CONCEPTIONS

Matthew A. Schmidt and Lisa Jean Moore 
Constructing a Good ‘Catch,’ Picking a Winner: 
The Development of Techno-Semen and the Deconstruction of the Monolithic Male

Charis M. Cussins 
“Quit snivelling, cryo-baby–we’ll work out which one’s your mama!”

Steven Daniel Mentor 
Witches, Nurse-Midwives, and Cyborgs: IVF, ART, and Complex Agency in the World of Technobirth

Janet Isaacs Ashford 
Natural Love 

PART II – THE TECHNO-FETUS

Monica Casper 
Fetal Cyborgs and Technomoms on the Reproductive Frontier: Which Way to the Carnival?

Lisa Mitchell and Eugenia Georges 
Baby’s First Picture: The Cyborg Fetus of Ultrasound Imaging

Emily Martin 
The Fetus as Intruder: Mother’s Bodies and Medical Metaphors

Rayna Rapp 
Refusing Prenatal Diagnosis: The Uneven Meanings of Bioscience in a Multicultural World

David Chamberlain
Babies Don’t Feel Pain: A Century of Denial in Medicine

PART III – MACHINES AND MOTHERS: POSTMODERN PREGNANCY, CYBORG BIRTH

Elizabeth Roberts
“Native” Narratives of Connectedness: Surrogate Motherhood and Technology

Joseph Dumit with Sylvia Sensiper 
Living with the ‘Truths’ of DES: Toward and Anthropology of Facts

Elizabeth Cartwright 
The Logic of Heartbeats: Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Biomedically Constructed Birth

Robbie Davis-Floyd
From Technobirth to Cyborg Babies: Reflections on the Emergent Discourse of a Holistic Anthropologist

PART IV – TECHNO-TOYS AND TECHNO-TOTS

Jennifer Croissant 
Growing Up Cyborg: Developmental Stories for Postmodern Children

Mizuko Ito 
Inhabiting Multilple Worlds: Making Sense of SimCity 2000 TM in the Fifth Dimension

Sherry Turkle 
Playing with Artificial Life

Anne A. Hill 
Children of Metis: Beyond Zeus the Creator. Paganism and the Possibilities for Embodied Cyborg Childraising

 

--

1998

Robbie Davis-Floyd & Joseph Dumit, eds. 1998. Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots. (Routledge).

»Embodying Improvisation

improvising

What are we talking about when we talk about embodiment, bodies, our bodies, other bodies? How did we learn to talk these ways that these words come so easily out of our mouths and fingers? And are we always improvising, and if so, how, and against what background of non-improvisation? Embodying Improvisation Class Winter 13 Continue reading…

+
-

»Biomedicine as Culture

Biomedicine as Culture

Co-edited with Regula Burri in 2008. Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life (Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society), best described through contents: Introduction REGULA VALÉRIE BURRI AND JOSEPH DUMIT PART I Social and cultural studies of biomedicine 1 Medicalizing culture(s) or culturalizing medicine(s) STEFAN BECK 2 Metaphors of medicine Continue reading…

+
-

»WRITING THE IMPLOSION: Teaching the World One Thing at a Time

implosion-lain

This has been my mainstay form of doing and thinking ethnographically a connected and disconnected world. A reading of Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 2 in dialogue with Donna Haraway’s works and methods. Working through the former helps me unpack the process of Haraway’s inquisitive “implosion” method and some of its aims better. I describe this as Continue reading…

+
-