Mermaids, boundaries and Haraway


So many of the cyborg associations that I have identified over the past two weeks have taken the human/machine form. What of the animal/human merger? What of the mermaid?

The other evening I found myself mesmerized by a Discovery Channel documentary Mermaids The Body Found. Armed with a cynical raised eyebrow I initially thought that this was an elaborate April Fool’s day joke but a little digging online revealed a different set of ‘facts’.

Originally aired on Animal Planet in May 2012 it harvested high viewer ratings and re-aired on the Discovery channel the following month. The documentary is described as “science  fiction based on some real events and scientific theory” and puts forward a hefty argument toward the possibility of the real existence of these mythical sea creatures.



It is this blending of science fiction and fact where we might view the mermaid as “a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction” ( Haraway, 2000, p.34)

Haraway, D. (2000). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century. in D Bell and A Kennedy, The Cybercultures Reader. Routledge.

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