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Abject/noise: a new tool for feminist analysis of technoscience
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article contributes to existing feminist technoscience analyses by proposing a new tool for examining how norms governing viable and unviable bodies are discursively constructed in an increasingly technologised world. This tool is the result of synthesising two existing concepts: white noise from the field of media theory/information studies, and the abject from psychosemiotics/gender studies. Synthesising these two concepts produces an enriched term for detecting interrelations between discursive disturbances and disturbances in bodily norms.

In this paper, the synthesised concept (abject/noise) is used as a tool to analyse material concerning the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names (or „generic‟ names) to biotechnological drugs. Biotech offers itself as a prime testing ground for this new tool, replete as it is with bodily anxieties, powerful discourses and innovative technologies. This article compares three versions of an INN guidance document showing how anxieties about bodily norms are reflected in, and managed through, these documents.

Keyword [en]
abject, biotechnology, body, discourse, International Nonproprietary Names, white noise
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64685OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-64685DiVA: diva2:393767
Available from: 2011-02-01 Created: 2011-02-01 Last updated: 2011-02-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Discursive skin: Entanglements of gender, discourse and technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discursive skin: Entanglements of gender, discourse and technology
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Diskursivt skal : sammanflätningar av genus, diskurs och teknik
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between gender, discourse and technology, and the resulting construction of bodily norms, in a contemporary environment dominated by info- and bio-technologies. The premise from which this study starts is that the ‘intra-action’ between gender, discourse and technology plays a central role in shaping contemporary identities. The study is based on close readings of material from three case studies: cyberpunk fiction, (in)fertility weblogs and the World Health Organisation guidelines on naming of biotechnologies. The distinctive combination of the three case studies provides a unique perspective on the relationship between gender, discourse and technology, showing how it shifts across different contexts, and demonstrating the socio-historical contingency of the bodily norms produced therein.

This study is comprised of three empirical texts, one theoretical text and a kappa. The analysis shows how innovative cyberpunk narratives challenge not only human/non-human boundaries, but also genre and gender conventions. The specific format of the blog allows women’s experiences of infertility to be heard and produces hybrid discourses which challenge contemporary authoritative discourses about femininity. The third case study explores the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names to new biotechnologies, and the implications of this on the construction of patients’ bodies. Finally, the theoretical text contributes to existing feminist analyses of technoscience by proposing a new tool called abject/noise for examining disruptions to discursive and bodily coherence. This tool is then tested on a series of documents about the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names to new biotechnologies. Throughout, the importance of ‘situated knowledges’ is emphasised, both in how gender, discourse and technology are understood, but also in the norms produced and the position of the researcher.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna studie är att undersöka relationen mellan genus, diskurs och teknik och hur denna relation bidrar till att konstruera vissa typer av kroppsnormer, speciellt som vår samtid infärgas av informationsteknik och bioteknik. Utgångspunkten för denna studie är att ’intra-action’ mellan genus, diskurs och teknik spelar en central roll i utformningen av samtida identiteter. Studien bygger på närläsningar av material från tre fallstudier: cyberpunk-litteratur, in/fertilitetets-bloggar och Världs-hälsoorganisationens riktlinjer för namngivning av bioteknik. Kombinationen av de tre fallstudierna ger ett unikt perspektiv på relationen mellan genus, diskurs och teknik. Den visar hur relationen skiftar mellan olika sammanhang, och hur denna är kulturellt villkorad och därmed tillåter vissa kroppsliga normer att upstå och cirkulera.

Denna undersökning består av tre empiriskt grundade texter, en mer teoretisk text och en kappa. Den försten analysen visar hur innovativa cyberpunk berättelser inte bara utmanar föreställningar kring det mänsklig / icke-mänskliga gränser, utan också själva genren i sig och dess kulturella konventionerna kring genus. Det specifika format webbloggen (eller blogg) i den andra fallstudien tillåter kvinnors upplevelser av infertilitet att höras och producerar genreöverlappningar och igen-kännanden som utmanar samtida normativ diskurser om reproduktiv kvinnlighet. Den tredje fallstudien undersöker tilldelningen av ett så kallat Internationellt generiskt namn till nya biotekniska produkter, och konsekvenserna detta får för konstruktionen av patienternas genusifierade kroppar. Slutligen bidrar den teoretiska texten till befintliga feministiska analyser av ’teknovetenskap’ genom att föreslå ett nytt verktyg som kallas ’abject/noise’ för att undersöka störningar i diskursiva och kroppsliga sammanhang. Detta verktyg testats sedan också analytiskt på dokumentar som rör tilldelningen av Internationellt generiskt namn till ny bioteknik. Genom hela avhandlingen läggs tonvikten på ’situerad kunskap’, både gäller hur genus, diskurs och teknik förstås kontextuellt, hur normer blir till och hur forskaren positionerar sig.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2010. 115 + articles 1-4 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 513
Keyword
gender, discourse, technology, feminism, technoscience, cyberpunk, blog, biotechnology, genus, diskurs, teknik, feminism, technoscience, cyberpunk, blogg, bioteknik
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64127 (URN)978-91-7393-421-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-04-16, TEM21, TEMA, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-02-01 Created: 2011-01-13 Last updated: 2014-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Harrison, Katherine

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