Defining Dystopias

I think that there are a lot of different ways we can look at the word dystopia. As we learned in our first lecture, the word dystopia literally translates to mean “bad place”. With this literal definition we must then think, what makes a place bad and who is it bad for?

A place can be considered bad for many reasons but mainly, I believe a dystopia is a place that denies civil rights and/or resources to its people. When we look at dystopian literature and movies this is what we tend to see. The people struggle to live due to lack of resources. This lack of resources may be due to an oppressive government that controls resource distribution, or due to the wealthy and powerful hogging resources, leaving very little for everyone else. The lack of civil rights and freedoms, such as the right to privacy, also tends to come from oppressive governments claiming to protect their people.

Also, we must address who a dystopia is bad for. Even if we imagine that everyone lives in a dystopia, I don’t believe that it is accurate to assume that everyone is struggling. I think that in order for someone to be at a disadvantage, there must be someone with some kind of advantage or power that is used to put others at a disadvantage. This is why, again, in dystopian literature and movies, there tends to be an oppressive government or a powerful upper class in place while the majority struggles to survive.

Taking these ideas into consideration, my personal definition of a dystopia is one where a powerful body deprives the majority of rights and/or resources that would be more readily available if the powerful body was not in place.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.