Imagining Surveillance: Eutopian and Dystopian Literature and Film
Critically assesses how literary and cinematic eutopias and dystopias have imagined and evaluated surveillance. Imagining Surveillance presents the first full-length study of the depiction and assessment of surveillance in literature and film. Focusing on the utopian genre (which includes positive and negative worlds), this book offers an in-depth account of the ways in which the most creative writers, filmmakers and thinkers have envisioned alternative worlds in which surveillance in various forms plays a key concern. Ranging from Thomas More’s genre-defining Utopia to Spike Jones’provocative film Her, Imagining Surveillance explores the long history of surveillance in creative texts well before and after George Orwell’s iconic Nineteen Eighty-Four. It fits that key novel into a five hundred year narrative that includes some of the most provocative and inventive accounts of surveillance as it is and as it might be in the future. The book explains the sustained use of these works by surveillance scholars, but goes much further and deeper in explicating their brilliant and challenging diversity. With chapters on surveillance studies, surveillance in utopias before Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four itself, and utopian texts post-Orwell that deal with visibility, spaces, identity, technology and the shape of things to come, Imagining Surveillance sits firmly in the emerging cultural studies of surveillance. Key Features: The first sustained account of the representation of surveillance in eutopian and dystopian literature and film Charts surveillance’s historical development and creative responses to that development Provides a detailed critical account of the ways that surveillance studies has utilised utopias to formulate its ideas Offers new readings of literary texts and films from More’s Utopia through George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and films from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium and beyond.
Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press. 2015