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date: 11 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter treats cyberculture as an interdisciplinary project that articulates cybernetics and the study of culture. Within the history of cybernetics, it analyzes the concept of homeostasis as a critique of the boundaries of subjectivity and of the psychological interiorization of subjectivity within individual bodies, as opposed to a systems approach. This critique intersects with theoretical accounts of postmodern culture more generally, especially the postmodern theme of depthlessness and including Judith Butler’s influential theory of queer performativity. Within science fiction, this kind of critique is often associated with the cyberpunk trope of direct interfaces between computer networks and human nervous systems, though this same critique can be located in earlier narratives, such as C. L. Moore’s story “No Woman Born.” The chapter ends by considering the problem of how to connect such critiques of expressive subjectivity with theories of cultural identity and multiculturalism.

Keywords: science fiction, cybernetics, homeostasis, postmodern culture, psychological interiority, depthlessness, performativity, Judith Butler, cyberpunk, C. L. Moore

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