New Definition of Dystopias

Through this class, my new definition of a dystopia is a world or society in which an oppressive force has power over that results in a loss of humanity. The oppressive force achieves this through powerlessness and tight surveillance. Iris Young’s Five Faces of Oppression were marginalization, powerlessness, exploitation, cultural imperialism, and violence. Powerlessness and marginalization are very important for my definition of a dystopia because this is how the oppressive powers are able to get a hold of the people they want to rule over. They first make them feel weak and eventually the citizens will believe this is how their livelihoods should be like. This is why war is commonly used a lot in dystopias which cause people to surrender their rights for protection. Powerlessness also allows conditions to be very worse-off for people without power. Oppressors derive people of basic needs, jobs, and individual rights.

Foucault’s introduction of how surveillance operates is also key. Foucault presented the idea of internal surveillance where you continue to act in certain ways especially according to the powerful authority. In order for the oppressors world to stay in place, the citizens would have to continue to comply. Therefore, they conduct something whether it be a law or strong miliary force to diminish any rebellion. We have seen this in history multiple times where strong force is needed. A historical example of this would be during WWII when Japanese-Americans were imprisoned. This was to make sure no sudden revolts broke out in America. Soon these people were also neglected and given the worst conditions to leave in until after the war ended. The dehumanizing factors of these worlds or societies is what defines a dystopia for me. People should be able to live without feeling like they are under someone else’s view and tyranny.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.