This thesis sets out to examine the relationship between science fiction and its conditions of production, specifically interrogating the genre's articulations of the ideology of modernity as progress. Sf has been characterized variously as a characteristically useful critical engagement with the ideologies of its context and as wholly ideological at the level of form, relying on the authority of a scientific episteme in its "cognitive estrangements," while not obligated to operate within the boundaries of this episteme. As such, the genre is unparalleled in its capacity to articulate ideologies under the guise of a putatively neutral science and reason. However, this same formal action places the genre in the unique position of being able to utilize the authority of a scientific episteme to re-evaluate the putative neutrality of that very scientific episteme. As a result, this study concludes that while the genre's reliance on the external authority of science in "cognitively" organizing its estrangements may make it particularly conducive to articulating ideological technoscience and the ideology of modernity as progress, the genre is characteristically ambivalent in this respect, both at the level of form and as a result of the incongruities between form and narrative. To support my thesis I engage a number of science fictional texts, focusing on Golden Age sf of the mid-20th century, while also branching out into explorations of a variety of 20th and 21st century sf texts, including texts from the pulp era, New Wave, cyberpunk, and post-singularity sf. I analyze within the effects of the conceptual mapping of society in terms of the natural sciences in sf, as well as the ambivalent presence of the robot as a megatextual motif, exploring the relationship of these to the ideology of modernity as progress and the post-scarcity fantasy of global mass consumption prosperity.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Hall, Graham, "The Ambivalence of Science Fiction: Science Fiction, Neo-imperialism, and the Ideology of Modernity as Progress" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1498.