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  • Towards a cybernetic communism: The technology of the anti-family

Power, Nina, 2010, Book Section, Towards a cybernetic communism: The technology of the anti-family In: Further Adventures of The Dialectic of Sex: Critical Essays on Shulamith Firestone. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230100299

Abstract or Description:

This essay revisits the work of Shulamith Firestone and her classic radical feminist text, The Dialectic of Sex (1970), through the particular lens of technological development in the 40 years since its publication. Whereas Firestone imagines a world radically altered by the emergence of new reproductive technologies, Power’s essay examines the practical and political implications of these technologies with a more critical eye.
Drawing on research relating to birth control, IVF, and other reproductive technologies and how these have affected the politics of the family in the latter half of the 20th century, Power argues that Firestone’s original utopian hopes for technology and the supposed ensuing communist revolution are wildly optimistic. Nevertheless, Firestone’s work, she suggests, leaves open a series of questions relating to considerations of what is deemed ‘natural’ as regards sex and gender.
To generate this argument, Power examined in detail what political consequences have actually followed from Firestone’s then-hypothetical proposals regarding the relationship between reproductive technology and political and social changes (particularly, that reproductive technology would completely undermine the nuclear family, ushering in a kind of post-sex, post-class pan-sexuality). To that end, Power charts with empirical detail the transformations (or relative lack thereof) of the family structure; the relationship between work and family structure and the privatisation of reproductive life. Power also creates an original context for considering Firestone’s thesis by setting her ‘turbo-Enlightenment’ project in a longer historical perspective that includes futurism, Marcuse and Trotsky.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W800 Imaginative Writing
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2013 22:07
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2014 12:14
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1466

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