I am a Cyborg: Identity, Peripheral Reflexivity and Transhumanism
Haan, M.N. de
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The 1990’s seem to be the intersection of several important developments with regard to identity and the human body. In 1991 Anthony Giddens published his book Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. In this book he describes that identity in a post-traditional society is no longer a solid thing, but has become reflexively fluid and subject to the question of ‘how shall I live?’. In this same period sociology of the body in general is becoming an important subject in sociology. The philosophy of transhumanism also began to truly gain followers in the 1990’s. Transhumanism is a philosophy that seeks to transgress certain bodily boundaries. However, since its origins, transhumanism has seen vast changes due to the rapid developments in science and technology, enabling much more advanced bodily modifications. It is clear that transhumanist activities have a great influence on the human body, and since the body and identity are so closely related, the question rises of how the modern (transhumanist) body can be fitted in the theory of reflexive self-identity from Anthony Giddens. From this study it appears that both the theory of Giddens and reflexive embodiment in general, which is a more detailed account of the reflexive role the body plays in modern society, does not fully comply with the transhumanist body.Therefore the concept of peripheral reflexivity is proposed, which stands for the central role the borders of the body now play in identity formation. It is no longer the question of ‘how shall I live?’, but it has become a question of ‘which boundaries do I want my body to have?’, with all its consequences.