Getzler—Othering Among Otherkin

Othering Among Otherkin: The Discursive Negotiation of the Face-Threat of Exclusionary Othering in a Demarginalizing Internet Community

by Melanie Getzler 

[Getzler, Melanie. 2013. “Othering among Otherkin: The Discursive Negotiation of the Face-Threat of Exclusionary Othering in a Demarginalizing Internet Community.” M.A., United States — Indiana: Indiana University.]

  • Otherkin do in fact other each other
  • Otherkin online politeness behavior is based around the ideals of free speech
  • Evaluation – the bald judgement of othered indiv. as possessing the characteristics of or belonging to the other – most frequent technique used
  • When talking about non-present others – joking and objectifying (fungibility, denial of subjectivity & autonomy)

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Boellstorff—Coming of Age in Second Life

Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human.

by Tom Boellstorff

[Boellstorff, Tom. 2008. Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.]


  • The virtual is not new—we have always been virtual because we interact through the mediating lens of “culture.” SO being virtual is being human.
  • Virtual /actual binary rather than “real”
  • What makes SL so different (as opposed to social platforms) is the use of techne in a “third place.”
  • We are starting a new Age of Techne. Humans (homo faber) have always used craft to create, but virtual worlds create a new way to do this (homo cyber).
  • Techne – human practice that engages with the world and creates a new world as well as a new person: homo cyber

Great summary written by John Postill: Continue reading Boellstorff—Coming of Age in Second Life

Haraway—A Cyborg Manifesto

A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century

by Donna Haraway

[Haraway, Donna. 1991. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 149–81. London/New York: Routledge.]


Context: 1984, Reagan and the Star Wars Missile Defense System ($84 billion) – radical feminism and a call toward the ‘natural’

    1. a call to use irony/blasphemy as a method within feminism
    2. four-part definition: a cyborg is a “cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of lived social reality as well as a creature of fiction” (149)
      1. international women’s movements have created “women’s experience” which is an essentialist fiction – the cyborg is concurrently fiction and lived experience, so…
    3. Haraway makes an argument “for the cyborg as a fiction mapping our social and bodily reality and as an imaginative resource suggesting some very fruitful couplings” (150)
      1. because, “We are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs” (p. 150).
      2. The cyborg does not require the nature/culture binary – so one no longer appropriates and incorporates the other.
    4. The cyborg is a fact of the present due to three current (1985 & 1991) breakdowns of traditionally held boundaries
      1. human/animal boundary
        1. animal rights, evolutionary science leading to an understanding of human animality
        2. More recently – non-human animal, interspecies transplants
      2. animal-human (organism)/ machine boundary
        1. authorship is in question – programs did not formerly write themselves, did not act autonomously, now they do as a matter of course
        2. more recently – ever growing efficiency of AI programs, anthropomorphization of technology, i.e. Siri
      3. physical/non-physical boundary (a subset of the previous)
        1. sunshine machines” run on invisible waves – everywhere and nowhere, microprocessors are small almost to the point of invisibility, cruise missiles are transported undetectably on pickup trucks
        2. Small is not so much beautiful as pre-eminently dangerous” (153).
    5. American socialists and feminists tend to see the world in terms of “deepened dualisms,” between mind and body, animal and machine, idealism and materialism
      1. they think that because technology is dominant, resistance must come in a return to the natural
      2. whereas, in a cyborg world, people would not “be afraid of joint kinships with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints” (154)
      3. it could be possible to avoid the masculinist orgy of Star Wars apocalypse if we embrace this cyborg ontology instead of resisting/ignoring technological domination
    1. affinity politics instead of identity politics
      1. Identity politics don’t really mean anything: “there is nothing about being female that naturally binds women together into a unified category. There is not even such a state as ‘being’ female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices” (p. 155).
      2. affinity politics create coalitions based on choice rather than identity
        1. examples – Chela Sandoval and “oppositional consciousness” and Katie King’s feminist taxonomies
        2. women of color’ does not explicitly define who the group incorporates or excludes like ‘Chicana’ or ‘African-American’ would, thus it is a possible model for affinity politics
    2. Critique of Marx and MacKinnon
      1. It’s good that Marxist thought has emphasized the “daily responsibility of real women to build unities, rather than to naturalize them” (158) however, Marxism (and with it, socialist feminism) is an inherently Western concept and silences any anti-colonial understandings.
      2. Catherine MacKinnon deconstructs the idea of an essentialist ‘woman,’ as nothing more than a construction male desire – However, her non-existent woman is equally essentializing, using the same tools that she argued against.
      3. Most troubling is how neither Marxist nor radical feminism can account (or make room) for race.
      4. We should instead look at Julie Kristeva’s view that woman (like homosexual, and youth) is a socially constructed category, and leave behind all essentialist tendencies.

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Entangled: An Archeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things

by Ian Hodder

[Hodder, Ian. 2012. Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. John Wiley & Sons.]

  1. Ch. 1 Thinking About Things Differently
    1. the focus has changed from how things make society possible to the thing itself and its multiple connections. The gaze shifts to look more closely, harder at the thing, to explore how society and thing are co-entangled. That is the shift that I want to try to make in this book. (3)
    2. Themes about things
    3. Not isolated
      1. Since humans have been in existence we have affected the world on a large scale (Roberts 1998) so all things are to some degree human-made artifacts (4)
    4. Not inert – “stand against”
    5. Endure over Different Temporalities
      1. Objects and materials can endure over time spans considerably greater than individual human experience. (5)
    6. Appear as Non-things
      1. The TV is arguably one of the most transformative objects of the 20th century, and yet in our homes, as we watch our favorite programs, the TV itself becomes unnoticed. In fact we might even baulk at calling a TV a ‘thing’, since it is just the medium through which we see images. Unless we are TV repair mechanics, the box itself is of little interest and blurs into the background (6)
    7. The Forgetness of Things – we take for granted
      1. Ex. A watch is a thing, but not only has leather, metal, and glass parts that interact, but also temporal components: changes from early religious to Julian to Gregorian calendar…
    8. What is a Thing?
      1. an entity that has a presence by which I mean a configuration that endures however briefly (7)
      2. We have seen that things are not isolated. It is in their connections, and in their flows into other forms, that theur thingness resides. (8)
    9. Humans and Things
      1. Hodder justifies the separation of humans as a specific type of thing because: human dependence on things leads to an entanglement between humans and things that has implications for the ways in which we have evolved and for the ways in which we live in societies today. (10)
      2. a human is a thing, it is a thing of a particular kind, one that has developed a very large and complex nervous system, body and mind thoroughly dependent on other things to exist. …. In the same way that all living things depend on sunlight, air or water, soil and minerals, so too all sentient beings depend on things to bring their sentience into being. Humans are particularly dependent because their embodied nervous systems need activation by cultural and environmental cues.
    10. Knowing Things
      1. This book aims to look at the relationships between humans and things from the point of view of things. (10)
      2. it can be argued that the operational chains that produce artifacts are continuous sequences, arbitrarily divided up into actions, gestures, objects and residues. (11)
      3. QUESTIONS: how can we define an entity as a bounded essence? Where do we draw the objective boundaries around a thing? Is my computer just the unplugged processor box? Or is it also the connections that allow it to work? (11)
    11. Conclusion: The Objectness of Things
      1. So I have argued that entities (bounded essences) and objects (that stand up against humans) can only be known by humans through their character as things (that gather humans and other things into heterogeneous mixes). So, from such a perspective, we ‘make’ things. (13)

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