social

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My conference presentation is on a topic that’s really interested me throughout the course of this class. Technology is a common theme throughout the books we’ve read and discussed, as well as an integral and ever-growing part of our society today. In my research, I asked the question, what social impact does technology have, both in the context of dystopian novels and in real life? After an analysis of my independent reading, along with class readings and other articles and books on the matter, I came to the conclusion that technology is portrayed as escalating social stratification throughout young adult dystopian literature, reflecting the way in which society struggles with the boundaries created by a growing technological presence today.

Throughout the presentation, we’ll first explore examples of social orders implemented or heightened by technology, looking specifically at Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

We’ll then continue to discuss a concept known as determinism, and how this view is often the driving force behind the dystopian nature of technological advancements. I’m particularly interested in the work of two scholars pertaining to this subject: Gorman Beauchamp, who argues that technology isn’t something that happens to fall in the hands of totalitarian rulers, but rather is intrinsically totalitarian in itself, and Langdon Winner, who believes that advancements in technology limit our choices and constrains the direction in which we grow as a society.

In his work, Winner also discusses how this results in the implementation of social boundaries through the metaphor of a city-suburb relationship. While in a city, we’re forced to bump shoulders and come in contact with people of all backgrounds and opinions, while suburbia is an escape from this diversity, where one can live in a bubble of their own views and not be bothered by those of others. Winner argues that cyberspace is comparable to suburbia, where one can access media that applies specifically to their niche in society. I’m excited to share more about my research with you all and to gain more perspective on this topic.

In class today, we discussed the traits of the dystopian genre of fiction and identified some of the key elements required for a text to be considered dystopian. We worked off of the discussion questions you all put together via Twitter while reading the chapter.

This definition of the genre (both from the textbook and from our discussion) will be useful to you as you begin to think about how you might define “YA Dystopia” for your infographic assignments. We spent some time today talking about the infographic assignment, what it entails and how we will choose teams on Monday.

The last 20 minutes of class were reserved for participants in the study to take a survey; all students were asked to bring their laptops and work quietly for the last 20 minutes of class.

 

HOMEWORK

  1. Complete Blog Post 1 by Monday, January 23 at 11:55pm (Optional: Tweet link and description to course hashtag)
  2. Read CCUL Chapter 6 and Part 1 of The Hunger Games and LIVETWEET your reading (3-6 tweets and Discussion Question, may include responses to classmates’ tweets)
  3. View The Hunger Games film and LIVETWEET your viewing (6 tweets) (Optional: attend screening at 4pm on Friday in Hall 102)
  4. Think about the infographic assignment and which prompt you want to work on – we will choose partners on Monday