My definition of dystopia at the beginning of this semester was “ Dystopia is often portrayed as being an advanced society with robots and top-of-the-grade weapons and restrictions. While that might become an unfortunate reality in the future, as of right now I think it’s safe to argue that we live in somewhat of a dystopia too.” It’s safe to say that this definition seems more like something that came out of a movie or book.
Taking this class has definitely updated my definition of a dystopia. For starters it has some basic elements of an authoritarian-style government and an idea of the oppressor vs. the oppressed. There is always a group that is more powerful and has more say and one who is not as powerful and does not have as much say. Young talks about this as the five faces of oppression. These include exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. These 5 “faces” serve as great examples of how the oppressor keeps the oppressed person oppressed.
We have seen time and time again that individuals and groups use fear and violent techniques as a way to keep people in the dark and blindly obey them. We often read and see bizarre examples, usually ones where by the end we are left wondering about how necessary rules really are. One of my favorite readings this semester is Hobbes’ work and the Hobbesian Jungle. He argues the idea that while we would love to have absolute freedom, that is not an ideal case. This would in fact lead to more problems and crime altogether.
While rules and regulations are needed in every government, a dystopia is one where the government’s fear-inducing regime mixed with unequal social hierarchy, causes a certain group of people to feel oppressed by the others.