A Conceptual Lever and the Narrative Construction of the Cyborg as a Quantum Machine

Book chapter


Liccardo, Sabrina 2013. A Conceptual Lever and the Narrative Construction of the Cyborg as a Quantum Machine. in: Esin, Cigdem, Johanssen, Jacob, Lake, Caroline, Schwartz, Priscilla, Tamboukou, Maria and Rashid, Farid (ed.) Crossing Conceptual Boundaries V London University of East London, School of Law and Social Sciences. pp. 35-44
AuthorsLiccardo, Sabrina
EditorsEsin, Cigdem, Johanssen, Jacob, Lake, Caroline, Schwartz, Priscilla, Tamboukou, Maria and Rashid, Farid
Abstract

Archimedes purportedly announced, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to
place it, and I shall move the world.” Archimedes was referring to how the use of a lever could
provide leverage by amplifying an input force to create a greater output force executed against an
object. Thus, the basic elements of a lever include effort, load or resistance, a lever arm, pivoting
point and a fulcrum. In this theoretical paper, I have mapped several concepts onto the following
elements of a lever; the psychological world onto ‘effort’, the socio-material world onto ‘load’,
history, culture, and tradition onto the ‘lever arm’, temporality onto the ‘pivoting point’, narratives
onto the ‘fulcrum’ and a ‘chronotope’ onto the ground. Who is the ‘One’ that attempts to move the
‘other’ and how does he use the elements of a ‘lever’ to do so? In a phallocratic culture, the
difference between a set of dualities is constructed as binary opposites and the positive terms,
which dominate the binary, are linked to one particular sex. Thus, man (the ‘One’) is valued over
woman (its negative ‘other’). If we are to transform culture we need to destabilise the binary
opposition that is founded in the male/female couple (Cixous, 1981). Thus, in this paper I
compare mechanical nature of a lever with the dichotomous patriarchal social system, in which
the masculine dominates the construction of meaning. I use the elements of a ‘lever’ to illustrate
how the reproduction of a phallocratic culture might occur. This patriarchal social system follows
the principles of digital computing in that it encodes ‘data’ that are associated with the masculine
and feminine into binary oppositions. However, the ‘cyborg’ (Haraway, 1991) as a quantum
machine, can exist in more than one state simultaneously. The cyborg maintains a state of
‘quantum superposition’ and ‘quantum entanglement’ because when it is in one state of a binary,
it partly exists in the other state simultaneously. Due to this entanglement, each member of the
binary must be delineated relative to one another. I thus conceptualise the cyborg at the centre of
this lever as it embodies the self as a psychological, socio-material and cultural phenomenon thus
providing an interpretive entry point to understanding ontology as the entanglement of subject
and object, space and time, matter and meaning, history and fiction. Furthermore, the cyborg
utilises narratives (stories) to reconstruct identity in the interplay of duality.

KeywordsEurope; European identity; migration; transnationalisation
Book titleCrossing Conceptual Boundaries V
Page range35-44
Year2013
PublisherUniversity of East London, School of Law and Social Sciences
Publication dates
Print2013
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Nov 2013
Place of publicationLondon
Web address (URL)http://www.uel.ac.uk/lss/research/yearbook/
Copyright holderThe authors
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
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