This paper explores the complex topography of technobiopower in what has been referred to as the posthuman era, following the commercial surrogacy phenomenon. To do so, I refer to commercial surrogates as the “modest witness” of this situation, a term derived from Donna Haraway’s conceptual toolbox. The modest witness starts from her situated position, and records and informs about what happens. By placing commercial surrogates in the position of modest witness, this paper attempts to visualize the complex and multi-layered network of technobiopower. In the posthuman era where technological possibility re-characterizes birth and death, commercial surrogates are concrete bodies as well as symbolic markers that are captured within the complex network of bio-capital, bio-power, reproductive rights and bio-labor. If discussions on the posthuman emphasize new technological possibilities, deconstruction of traditional systems and advancement into a new world, commercial surrogates— as the “modest witness” of this era— will then reveal and demonstrate the pain that must be endured for obtaining this opportunity and the dominance of technobiopower about which we are not conscious.
- Donna Haraway
- Surrogate mother
- assisted reproductive technology (ART)
- modest witness
- new reproductive technology