Tracing the gendered roots of science in culture, Donna Haraway’s writings . Chapter Ten, as ‘The biopolitics of postmodern bodies: detemIinations of. Haraway, Donna The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies: Determinations of Self in Immune System Discourse. In: Harawa, Donna. The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies: Constitutions of Self in Immune System Discourse. By. Donna J. Haraway. From Simians, Cyborgs and Women.

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The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies: Determinations of Self in Immune System Discourse. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. The Reinvention of Nature. Pre-eminently a twentieth-century object, the immune system is a map drawn to guide recognition and misrecognition of self and other in the dialectics of western biopolitics.

That is, the immune system is a plan for meaningful action to construct and maintain the boundaries for what may count as self and other in the crucial realm of the normal and the pathological. Bodies, then, are not born; they are made. Bodies have been as thoroughly denaturalized as sign, context, and time.

Late twentieth-century bodies do not grow from internal harmonic principles theorized within Romanticism. Neither are they discovered in the domains of realism and modernism. One is not born a woman, Simone de Beauvoir correctly insisted. Organisms are made; they are constructs of a world-changing kind. From the eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the great historical constructions of harawa, race, and class were embedded in the organically marked bodies of woman, the colonized or enslaved, and the worker.


Those inhabiting these marked bodies have been symbolically other to the fictive postmodfrn self of universal, and so unmarked, species man, a coherent subject. Design is none the less highly constrained. Individuality is a strategic defense problem.

Bodies have become cyborgs — cybernetic organisms — compounds of hybrid techno-organic embodiment and textuality. The hierarchicaly body of old has given way to a network-body of truly amazing complexity and specificity. The immune system is everywhere and nowhere.

Its specificities are indefinite if not infinite, and they arise randomly; yet these extraordinary variations are the critical means of maintaining individual bodily coherence. The concatenation of internal recognitions and responses would go on indefinitely, in a series of interior mirrorings of sites on immunoglobulin molecules, such that the immune system would always be in a state of biopolitjcs internal responding.

Donna Haraway “The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies” | konspektid

The notion of the internal image is the key to the theory, and it entails the premise that every member of the immune system is capable of interacting with every other member. That is, they are ontologically contingent constructs from the point of view of the biologist, not just in the loose ravings of a cultural critic or feminist historian of science.

It is photography that convinces the viewer of the fraternal relation of inner and outer space. But curiously, in outer space, we see spacemen fitted into explorer craft or floating about individuated cosmic hraway, while in the supposed earthy space of our own interiors, we see non-humanoid strangers who are supposed to be the means by which our bodies sustain our integrity and individuality, indeed our humanity in the face of a world of others.


Harmony of the organism, that favourite theme of biologists, is explained in terms of the aggressive defence of individuality […]. You are commenting using your WordPress.

‘The biopolitics of postmodern bodies: determinations of self in immune system discourse’

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