Ontotechnologies of the Body: Technoperformativity and Processes of Subjectivation

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Research in which technoscience, body, gender, and identity intersect is greatly indebted to the Foucauldian conceptualization of the apparatus, or dispositif, comprising materialities, discursive and nondiscursive practices. Its intrinsically ontotechnological character provides a most relevant interpretative framework for the understanding of the production of contemporary subjectivities, or processes of “assujettissement” in the age of biopolitics. Building on Foucauldian wide-range analyses, several authors shed light on the technologically mediated shaping and reshaping of identities, or the experimental exploration of neo- or counter-identities that are post-naturalist, post-essentialist, post-humanist, anti-ableist and anti-heteronormative, namely Donna Haraway, with her definition of figurations as material-semiotic tools, and Judith Butler’s queer theory, according to which materiality designates a certain effect of power in its formative constitution of the subject, simultaneously forming and regulating the “subject” of subjectivation. Butler’s insight has proved specially productive in the matter of understanding queer performativity i.e., the epistemo-political re-subjectivation programs and processes of impugned, abject and deteriorated identities. Finally, the most recent reflection on the uses of the body, by Giorgio Agamben, sheds light on the essential and deep bond between the ancient slave as animated object and modern technology as animated instrument, thus allowing for a radical contestation of the mere serviceability of both the body and technology. On these grounds, this essay is a critical survey of both the virtues and the ambiguities and risks of technoperformative projects, such as Paul Preciado’s countersexuality, balancing the vindication of morphological freedom against conservative anti-technological trends that go beyond traditional political oppositions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
EditorsHelena Mateus Jerónimo
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-14630-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-14632-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
ISSN (Print)1879-7202
ISSN (Electronic)1879-7210


  • Body
  • Dispositif
  • Ontotechnologies
  • Subjectivation
  • Technoperformativity


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