1st Edition

Cyborg Babies From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots

Edited By Robbie Davis-Floyd, Joseph Dumit Copyright 1998
    372 Pages
    by Routledge

    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Contributors include Janet Isaacs Ashford, Elizabeth Cartwright, David Chamberlain, Jennifer Croissant, Charis M. Cussins, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Joseph Dumit, Eugenia Georges, Anne Hill, Mizuko Ito, Emily Martin, Steven Daniel Mentor, Janneli F. Miller, Lisa Mitchell, Lisa Jean Moore, Rayna Rapp, Matthew A. Schmidt, Syvia Sensiper, Elizabeth Roberts and Sherry Turkle.

    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.

    Joseph Dumit and Robbie Davis-Floyd , Introduction: Cyborg Babies: Children of the Third Millenium Part One: CYBORG CONCEPTIONS One Matthew Schmidt and Lisa Jean Moore , Constructing a Good Catch, Picking a Winner The Development of Technosemen and the Deconstruction of the Monolithic Male Two Charis M. Cussins , Quit Sniveling, Cryo-Baby. We'll Work Out Which One's Your Mama! Three Steven Mentor , Witches, Nurses, Midwives, and Cyborgs IVF, ART, and Complex Agency in the World of Technobirth Four Janet Isaacs Ashford , Natural Love Part Two: THE TECHNO-FETUS Five Lisa M. Mitchell and Eugenia Georges , Baby's First Picture The Cyborg Fetus of Ultrasound Imaging Six Emily Martin , The Fetus as Intruder Mother's Bodies and Medical Metaphors Seven Rayna Rapp , Refusing Prenatal Diagnosis The Uneven Meanings of Bioscience in a Multicultural World Eight David B. Chamberlain , Babies Don't Feel Pain A Century of Denial in Medicine Part Three: MACHINES AND MOTHERS: POSTMODERN PREGNANCY, CYBORG BIRTH Nine Elizabeth F. S. Roberts , Native Narratives of Connectedness Surrogate Motherhood and Technology Ten Joseph Dumit with Sylvia Sensiper , Living with the Truths of DES Toward an Anthropology of Facts Eleven Elizabeth Cartwright , The Logic of Heartbeats Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Biomedically Constructed Birth Twelve Robbie Davis-Floyd , From Technobirth to Cyborg Babies Reflections on the Emergent Discourse of a Holistic Anthropologist Part Four: TECHNO-TOYS AND TECHNO-TOTS Thirteen Jennifer L. Croissant , Growing Up Cyborg Developmental Stories for Postmodern Children Fourteen Mizuko Ito , Inhabiting Multiple Worlds Making Sense of SimCity 2000 in the Fifth Dimension Fifteen Sherry Turkle , Cyborg Babies and Cy-Dough-Plasm Ideas about Self and Life in the Culture of Simulation Sixteen Anne Hill , Children of Metis: Beyond Zeus the Creator Paganism and the Possibilities for Embodied Cyborg Childraising


    Robbie Davis-Floyd is a Research Fellow at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992) and co-editor of Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1997). Joseph Dumit is an NIMH Research Fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the co-editor of Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences, Technologies and Medicines (1997) and is assistant editor of Culture, Medicine and Society.

    "It is a valuable addition to the vibrant literature that has sprung up around the intersection of medical anthropology, feminist studies, and science and technology studies. ...the collection is highly readable. ...eminently suitable for use in graduate and undergraduate teaching and will be indispensable reading for scholars in the many fields upon which it touches." -- Medical Anthropology Quarterly, December 1999
    "This delightfully diverse collection introduces scholars to watch as it presents the possibilities for the future of our species: Will we remain humans, or become monsters?." -- Village Voice
    "...fascinating collection of essays..." -- Shift