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Durham e-Theses
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Birthing pains: How cyborgs refigure medical bodies, technologies, and objectives

Theoharis, Sotiria (1997) Birthing pains: How cyborgs refigure medical bodies, technologies, and objectives. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Cyborgs are polymorphic and not yet visibly different from humans in part because cyborgic technologies have just been developed, in part because we are not trained to see how the post human arises. The birth of cyborgs alters the core of medicine from disease-containment and death-assessment to enhancement of function and image, to transgression of previous natural bounds as established by the possibility of space and oceanic travel. Cyborgs, as postmodern/ posthuman products of medicine, make visible the current shift in the construction of medical bodies, technologies, and objectives. Medical bodies have been determined by a conception of patienthood or diseased body. The connection of body and disease as distinct species happened in the medical enclosure: the hospital-clinic, during mid-late 19th century. In the hospital-clinic, the medical body has been clearly mapped in terms of disease identity or malfunction, and it has encountered medical technologies used to aid in diagnosis. The patient-doctor relationship has shifted because of the revolution in instrumentation at the turn of the century. Another shift can be discerned, as it is again mirrored in the relations of doctor-patient, as it has been re-structured through cyberspace and expert systems. Clearly, the revolution or scientification of medicine has been fueled by the tuberculosis crisis as it challenged medical and political institutions. A similar crisis has occurred with AIDS: is cyborg-technology the fulfillment of the modem dream of immortality and total control in the face of the epidemic? An easy answer to such question cannot be produced. Cyborgs are a product of the meeting of natural and human sciences through cybernetics. Their existence and proliferation destabilize assumptions at the philosophical foundations of knowledge and medicine as well as our conceptions of identity and rights, through an unsettling of the connection between community-individuality, of the distinction between private and public domains.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:39

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