Dystopia Definition

A place in which the human condition is purposefully controlled via sociopolitical systems.

This definition has two sources in mind. Firstly, Iris Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression”. Exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural domination, and violence are all forms of control that dystopian governments use when dealing with citizens. They are deliberate, and are used to foster an environment in which those in power thrive while everyone else serves as cogs in a system that ultimately benefits the top. These five ideas lay out the concrete ways in which dystopias manifest their power. The second source is Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, in which Freud points to the psychological need to control that humans have. Psychology is the science of the mind; understanding that what is in the mind is manifested in the world is key to grasping the given definition. The largest aspect of a dystopia’s control over its citizens is the extent to which it can control the minds of its citizens. This is evidenced most explicitly in 1984. The sociopolitical systems are frameworks consisting of the ideas of those in power; what they want (i.e. their thoughts and desires for survival and control) are made the frameworks for a dystopia’s society.

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