Monday, 13 February 2017

The Cone Of Cogency

Technophobia in the Sci-Fi Genre

Chapter 1

Sci-fi Genre

Chapter 2

Define Technophobia
Deconstruct Technophobia into Sub-genres
(Feminism, Alienation Theory, Uncanny Valley)

Chapter 3

Case Studies
(Ex-Machina, Metropolis...)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tom,

    Okay - looking at this, it's a bit wishy-washy, largely because of lack of specific focus in Chapter 1. I'd suggest you could very quickly establish Science-fiction as the genre of 'hope & fear' in regards to technology, and then use Chapter 1 to prove your point that when we imagine the future in fictional terms we're likely to imagine our destruction at the hands of technology. A really good chapter one would be rich in reference - literary, television, film etc - wherein you roam widely in terms of science-fiction history and media by which to demonstrate that technophobia is an 'archetypal' fear. You need to be clear about what you mean by 'technology' too - because some stuff may not at first glance appear to be 'about' technology - for example, Frankenstein, or the giant insect films of the 1950s (in which the monsters were the product of atomic radiation). I think you'll discover that technophobia itself boils down to different types of anxiety - I can name 'armageddon' as one strand (self-annilhation, so tech/meddling with nature bringing about a biblical end of days and all the Christian guilt so associated with scientists usurping God) and de-humanisation as another (so the idea of our own creation - tech/robots/AI - replacing us/destroying us. Arguably, the two things are the same ultimately in that the human race imagines itself endangered by its own intelligence/ambitions (stealing fire!) but the metaphors of our ultimate destruction vary. My instinct is that Chapter 1 needs to pick apart the trends, motifs and themes of techphobic science fiction in an evidence, multi-reference way and then, in readiness for Chapter 2 be able to identify the 'anxiety archetype(s)' that unify all the examples - thus revealing the essential structure/formulation of our fear.

    Chapter 2 can the begin to theorise in regard to this essential structure(s) - so if dehumanisation is uncovered to be a recurrent motif in dystopian Sci-fi, you can look at Alienation Theory as a means of examining/contextualising the anxiety in regards to us surrendering ourselves to machines and automation and so on...

    So your first job is to cross-reference as much sci-fi as possible, and read about it and watch it until you can, with confidence, identify the philosophical questions that our anxiety poses - and its those questions you seek to explore in Chapter 2 - and then, in our case-studies, you examine films that absolutely embody the issues you've raised and can be examined fruitfully.