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Cyberpunk Versus Empire: Constructing Technotopia in the New World Order

Por: Renata Koba

Para citar este artículo: Koba, Renata, 2004, "Cyberpunk Versus Empire: Constructing Technotopia in the New World Order". Congreso Porto 2004. Disponible en el ARCHIVO del Observatorio para la CiberSociedad en


This essay suggests an analysis of a cyberpunk novel by Marge Piercy The Body of Glass (1991) in the context of two interrelated post-humanist theories: Chris Hables Gray´s issue of cyborg body politics as offered in his work Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age (2001) and Donna Haraway and her manifesto for cyborgs in A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century (2000) suggesting a new form of subjectivity in the construction of societies of the future.

We are living in the era of technology where computers, data constructs, post-human, post-gendered beings or artificial intelligence are a common presence. In her novel Piercy celebrates a new form of politics that is politics defining this new post-industrial stage which one might name as cyborg age or cyberculture. At the heart of her novel lies an opposition. It is an opposition between two geographical, physical places representing two distinct ideologies; Yakamura-Stichen, Nebraska, and Tikva, which lies in a different time zone that is one hour ahead of Nebraska. The contradictory, oppositional enclaves illustrate Haraway´s transition from the White Capitalist Patriarchy into an Informatics of Domination. Piercy´s Body of Glass represents the struggle between these two ideologies.

Cyberpunk narratives represent the future in terms of the present so it might be claimed that the linear temporal relations between the present and the future are disrupted. Cyberpunk visions of the future are rooted in the present thus, the corporate wealth on the one hand and urban squalor on the other, remain familiar to readers. This contemporary look gives the novels an air of irony which Piercy uses for her own mode of social and cultural criticism. Under the pretext of speculating about the future of human society she actually shows up and criticises the present Western capitalist power apparatuses