PurposeIn order to explore the impact of the recent wave of a technological revolution on global culture and society, the purpose of this paper is to re-read the two most outstanding dystopian novels of the mid-twentieth century. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley observe and anticipate technological development in relation to questions of human nature and culture, individual identity and close relationships, matters of care, privacy and private life. The totalitarian regimes both authors experienced in their time have disappeared, yet today the two fields of high technology that fueled their fantasy are reaching levels of development to surpass Orwell’s and Huxley’s daunting visions.Design/methodology/approachThis paper approaches the recent innovations in the information and communication technology as well as the upsurge of life sciences and bio-technology from a philosophical perspective, considering their impact on the social structure (division of labor, distribution of wealth) as well as on the symbolic order of advanced industrial societies (the sign and the body, life and death).FindingsTaking up Michel Foucault’s distinction between ancient sovereign rule and modern biopolitics, the author suggests discerning a third stage of domination: bio economics plus culture industries. In contrast to the two previous forms of domination, this new regime does not endeavor to suppress but to foster and unleash life. Therefore, it instigates less resistance and opposition but meets with more approval and compliance. Domination in this neoliberal-libertarian guise may prove not less dangerous than the former totalitarian variant. It forces the author to re-think ways of resistance and critique.Originality/valueThis paper makes a theoretical contribution to the analysis of care, society and democracy.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 21, 2018
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