Deus est machina: technology, religion and Derrida's autoimmunity

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This paper argues against the commonly held assumption that whilst fundamentalism may appropriate technology and turn it against the modern world, it nevertheless remains alien to the cultural logic that allows technology to develop. Drawing on Derrida’s concept of autoimmunity, and his reading of the opposition between faith and knowledge Mansfield argues that fundamentalism relies on a pre-existing rationalism, just as tele-technoscience assumes a certain logic of faith; that ultimately, both sides of this imagined divide encourage and facilitate, while resisting one another. Mansfield’s intervention thereby reveals the autoimmune logic that structures the conventional oppositions between fundamentalism and technology, religion and reason, faith and knowledge, and ultimately dogmatism and democracy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScan: journal of media arts culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Scan, Department of Media, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


  • Derrida
  • technology
  • religion
  • autoimmunity
  • deconstruction


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