Grotesque bodies: A response to disembodied cyborgs

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In this paper, my aim is to show some of the problems that the figure of the cyborg may raise, in order to show how in many cases the cyborg has been used, even if in a dissimulated way, to reinstate the 'natural', normative order with its known distinct and very well defined categories and divisions. But, more importantly, I propose here an alternative to the figure of the cyborg which, I believe, has more possibilities of 'keeping the promises' of subverting the normative order of Western thought. This alternative is the one presented by the figure of the grotesque body. The grotesque body, I will argue, contains in itself the seeds of a real hybrid, fragmented, non-binarian thought. The relevance of my proposal is that, in opposition to the cyborg, the grotesque body does not present the dangers of a reinforcement of the old categories which support the powers-that-be in maintaining oppression and domination. Unlike the cyborg, the grotesque body does not make possible a return to the Cartesian frame, with its clear danger of losing one more time the embodied subject (and losing with it the concrete, non-neutral subject), which the postmodern and feminist thought strived so hard to bring to the philosophical and political scene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Cyborgs
  • Embodiment
  • Feminism
  • Grotesque bodies
  • Phenomenology
  • Postmodernism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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