Introduction to Policing Dystopia

Jean Paul Brodeur, Universite de Montreal

A dystopia is a utopia that turned for the worst, as utopia generally do when put into practice. This is a panel about the various models of dystopia. The best known policing dystopia is the society under total control that was described by George Orwell in 1984, "Big Brother" being its main malevolent character. The essential feature or Orwell's dystopia is its rationalistic character: nothing is left to chance by bureaucrats hat succeed in enslaving the body politic. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Franz Kafka, where nothing happens as planned: the master of the penal colony ends up being killed by his own machine. Between Orwellian control and Kafkaesque chaos, there is a great variety of intermediate models. The panel will explore the various ways in which dystopa are constructed in imagination and in reality.

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Updated 05/20/2006