New Definition of Dystopia

After taking this class this semester, my new definition of a dystopia is a real world where people are living in a state of fear while enduring undesirable and oppressive conditions that decrease the quality of oneā€™s life. Iris Youngā€™s ā€˜Five Faces of Oppressionā€™ are applicable to my definition of dystopia. These five faces include marginalization, powerlessness, exploitation, cultural imperialism, and violence. I believe that all of these characterizations contribute to upholding a dystopia. Each of these portrays a way in which an authoritative power can implement and maintain control over a group of people forcing them into the ā€œstate of fearā€ I mentioned in my definition. Furthermore, I believe these conditions also manifest into ā€œundesirable and oppressive conditionsā€ as I stated in my definition as well. When enduring or promoting any of the five conditions, it encourages oppression in addition to the decline of quality one may perceive of their life.

The idea of panopticism also supports my definition of dystopia. The idea of panopticism was that there was this constant observation that would basically force people to behave according appropriately or to societal standards out of fear of punishment or reprimand. I believe this provides a great piece of evidence for my definition of dystopia. Panopticism will increase the ā€œstate of fearā€ people will live in due to ā€œundesirable conditionsā€, which promotes a dystopia. An example of this is the bombing of Pearl Harbor which forced Japanese-Americans into internment camps for continuous observation. People were living in and enduring terrible conditions, including some of the Five Faces of Oppression such as marginalization and powerlessness. Under the definitions of Iris Young and Focaultā€™s Panopticism, the internment camps turned into a dystopia for those there. These conditions align both with the stated sources and with my definition of a dystopia.

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