Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Cyborg Counternarrative of Lance Armstrong

Ted Butryn and Matthew Masucci concluded their article "It's Not about the Book. A Cyborg Counternarrative of Lance Armstrong" (published in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Volume 27, No. 2, May 2003, pp.124-144) in the following terms:

"From our perspective, whether Armstrong used any performoance-enhancing drugs while he competed is secondary to the larger question of why sporting bureaucracies are intent on rigourously policing the borders , which are suspect at least, between "calculated training" and cyborg corporeality, even as the postmodern conditions render their attempts futile and absurd. Sport fans have come to accept elite performances that are largely recognized as being aided by technology, and yet the "natural" classification remains the chosen mantra of elite sport. It is a question that deserves the further attention of scholars from within and beyond the sports studies community."

Interestingly they also note in the article that whenever Armstrong, the post modern cyborg feels the need to defend his achievements it is done, not on by reverting to a similarly post modernist rational but by reverting to modernist notions of purity, hard work, and a unified natural and single identity. The implication is that by reverting to these defences from another time he is somehow complicit in maintaining the modernist notions of body and naturalness which in this day and age serve more as unrealistic forms of enunciation rather than being forms of expression which are in touch with the reality of the processes they seek to defend and reflect. That is their is a large distance between the modernist defence of hard work, naturalness and purity and the post modernist reality of a fine tuned cyborg that brings together technology and the human body.

Whist Butryn and Masucci have focussed upon Armstrong in the context of cyborg theory, they are right to point our attention and to suggest further research in relation as to why the "natural'" classification remains the chosen mantra of elite sport".

The question becomes: why do we cling on to these modernist notions to the extent that any crossing of the invisible line, and even rejection of these notions becomes a mattter for the criminal law?

No comments:

Post a Comment