University of Twente Student Theses


Social subjectivity in mediated posthumanism

Eckel, David Elias (2014) Social subjectivity in mediated posthumanism.

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Abstract:This thesis aims at understanding the role of social factors in regard of the constitution of the technologically mediated human being. Through investigating in the development and constitution of mediated posthumanism with a special focus on postphenomenology and technical mediation as well as the foucaultian subjectivation theory, I conclude that mediated posthumanism lacks the acknowledgement of the social embeddedness of human subjectivity. In order to investigate further in this manner, I make use of the psychological approach of resilience studies. This approach, although outside of the subject area of philosophy of technology, is able to offer many concepts and methods to investigate in the role of the embeddedness of human individuals. In order to introduce the concept of a socially embedded and technologically mediated human subjectivity, the thesis opens with offering the reader an introduction to mediated posthumanism, postphenomenology and subjectivation theory. Subsequently resilience studies are introduced. Resilience studies are a branch in psychology and psychotherapy aiming at the understanding of the processes that enable human individuals to recover from or cope with adverse situations and traumatic experiences. In this approach, the human individual is outlined as subjected to various levels of influencing factors comprised in human adaptation systems. These human adaptation systems are pictured as supportive networks of promotive and protective factors which enable the individual to cope with adversity and are delineated as fundamentally important for human individuals to function normally. If these systems are malfunctioning or impaired through the overwhelming presence of risk factors, the individual is not able to develop normally or healthy. It becomes clear that the approach of mediated posthumanism, which is based on the account of a foucaultian subjectivity in regard of technological influence, is dependent on the acknowledgement of the social embeddedness of the individual’s subjectivity. In order to support this critique of posthumanism to understate constitutive aspects of human subjectivity, Lucie Dalibert’s PhD thesis is presented. Dalibert outlines the importance of the human body in the conceptualization of mediated posthumanism. Her stance on somatechnologies, offers another pillar of investigation in the approach of mediated posthumanism which is focusing on new emerging biotechnologies and the constitution of human existence. The thesis closes with a discussion on the importance of social embeddedness and the acknowledgment of the processes that constitute the individual’s ability to adapt to challenges and threats. Technology, especially new emerging biotechnologies are discussed in their disruptive potential and the methods to adapt to these disruptive forces. Subjectivation, the approach pursued in mediated posthumanism, is outlined as dependent on the acknowledgment of a resilient, stabile human being. This resilience, or rather stability in regard of new emerging biotechnologies, can be achieved through subjectivation under the acknowledgment of the moderating and mediating role of human adaptation systems.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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